Shoe lovers may have to pay a little more or travel a little further for Payless.
The last two locations in the northwest Bronx are part of the nearly 400 stores scheduled to close nationwide as Payless ShoeSource undergoes corporate restructuring through bankruptcy. For shoppers at the 60 W. 225th St. location in Marble Hill as well as West 231st Street, it’s a loss of easy access to shoes at wallet-friendly prices.
“I need convenient and close,” shopper Katie Medina said. Medina was at the Marble Hill Payless purchasing a pair of shoes last week she plans to take with her on a trip to the Dominican Republic as a gift. After the store closed July 10, she said she would have to shop at Target or Marshalls instead, closer to her home in Inwood.
Diana Quintuna, a rising sophomore at Manhattan College, said Payless is her “go-to store” for summer and professional shoes — the ones she wears to her internship where the dress code is business casual.
“I’m kind of shocked,” she said. And Payless hasn’t been the only retailer closing its doors in recent years. It’s gotten to the point where Quintuna is not sure where she’ll shop next.
Nancy Maldonado shares the same concerns. She shops the Marble Hill Payless location because of its convenience, but would shop at other Bronx Payless locations when they were open over the past 15 years.
“The quality of shoes is good,” Maldonado said. “The price is good. The quality of customer service is good.”
It’s also where she can find her brother a pair of shoes at a reasonable price. Her brother wears a size 15 wide, and Payless is the only place that does not charge up to $200 per pair because of his unique size, she said.
Marlene Cintron, president of the Bronx Overall Economic Development Corp., said despite the closing and the loss of an undisclosed number of jobs, it’s not necessarily an indicator of potential economic trouble for the borough. The group works to support current and prospective businesses in the Bronx.
“This is a difficult, but necessary, decision driven by the continued challenges of the retail environment, which will only intensify,” Paul Jones, Payless’ chief executive said, in a statement. Payless, like many retailers, have suffered from considerable competition from online delivery companies like Amazon, which makes the need to visit so-called “bricks and mortar” stores like Payless unnecessary.
The Payless store at 186 W. 231st St., was on the company’s list of May closures and has already shuttered. Two of the nearest stores from the northwest Bronx are located at 209 E. Fordham Road and 7 E. Burnside Ave.
Founded in 1956, Payless has more than 4,000 stores in 30 countries, according to its website, and carries brands like American Eagle for Payless, Champion and Christian Siriano for Payless.