Eddie Anderson pulls out his shoehorn to fit customer, Patsy Chappell for a pair of tennis shoes.
NEWBERRY — After 103 years of faithful service to the Newberry community, Anderson’s Shoes will soon be closing its doors for the last time. Owner Eddie Anderson, along with his wife Mary, will be retiring with plans to travel and spend more time with family.
Opening Jan. 2, 1910, by R.H. Anderson, also known as “Hal,” Anderson’s Shoes was originally located further down Main Street, where Carolina Gifts and Collectibles now stands.
The business expanded to its current location on Feb. 12, 1938, when R.H. Anderson’s son, LeRoy Anderson became a part of the family business. At the time, the store was half the size, and was unable to open the other half until the early 1980s.
LeRoy Anderson’s son, Eddie Anderson and current owner of Anderson’s Shoes, began helping out with the business at an early age.
“I started when I was 9 years old on Easter Saturday,” Anderson said. “Several people had called in sick and my dad figured I could at least pick stuff up off the floor.”
From that point on, Eddie began helping in the store off and on until the age of 12.
“My father paid me a quarter for helping each Saturday,” he said.
After graduating college from The Citadel, Eddie Anderson worked for Brown Shoe Company in St. Louis, which led him to travel to different places such as Tennesse and Virginia with the company for work. Now married to his wife, Mary, he began working at Thalheimer department store in hopes of spending more time at home, rather than traveling.
Having worked for Thalheimer for nine years, Eddie Anderson’s family had now grown with his two daughters, Katharine and Meg, and as a family they decided to move back to Newberry in December 1975.
“I always will believe that my daughters being in Newberry provided them with special opportunities,” Mr. Anderson said.
After moving back to Newberry, Eddie and his wife began continuing the family business at Anderson’s Shoes where they have been ever since.
Anderson said what set Anderson’s Shoes apart from bigger, department stores is simply the personal service they have been able to provide through the years.
“We’ve been able to adapt merchandise to the community, while department stores cannot provide products that are specific to any one place,” he said.
With a strong customer base not only in the Newberry community, but in Irmo, Ballentine, and Chapin as well, Anderson said being able to carry special merchandise such as narrow width shoes put them on the map locally. He reminisces on repeat customers, recalling fitting families of children, parents, and grandparents during his time at the store since his childhood.
“It’s part of the history, and it’s a part of the legacy,” he said. “I don’t always remember faces and names, but rather faces and shoe sizes.”
Being a part of the community for as long as he has, Anderson was active with the Newberry Rotary, the Newberry Community Players, and other organizations in the town of Newberry. What he says he’s enjoyed most are the friendships that have grown out of his business.
“My wife and I hope to do some long-postponed traveling and spend time with our granddaughter Moira in Stone Mountain, Georgia,” Anderson said on his plans for retirement. Describing himself as a people person, Anderson says he’s unsure what he’ll do in between travels.
If someone were to buy the business, Anderson said he may enjoy helping the new owner, giving them his tips of the trade along with the in’s and out’s of operating the business.
“I’m never anywhere without a shoehorn,” he said pulling one from his pocket.
Since officially declaring the stores closing last Thursday, Anderson said it has been an emotional rollercoaster. No official date has been set to close, but Anderson anticipates that it will happen at the end of July.