After 58 years in business in KC, Bob Jones Shoes officially closes

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The ionic downtown Kansas City store Bob Jones Shoes shut its doors for good Tuesday evening.

The longtime shoe store was in business in Kansas City for 58 years. Business was great, but the owners said it was time.

"Bob Jones and his partner Ernest Horowitz started the company in 1960, and at the time, we were a true outlet store," said Harry Bosley, partner in Bob Jones Shoes.

Bosley said the store evolved over time and switched its focus to just shoes and shoe accessories in the 1980s.

Bob Jones Shoes

"The day we announced the closing, like back in August, we had our busiest day we ever had," Bosley said.

Joyce Slater is from KC's historic northeast neighborhood and remembers taking the bus to Bob Jones as a kid. She's been a loyal customer for almost 50 years.

"You just couldn't find all the shoes anywhere in the city you could find here," Slater said.

Like many other long time customers, she went to Bob Jones on Tuesday for one last time.

"I just wanted to say goodbye," Slater said. "I didn't even care if I found anything. But I won't be able to walk in here again."

Bosley said the support from customers is heartwarming.

"We've had such an outpouring of kind words and sort of sadness that we're leaving. I didn't realize we were that important," he said.

Now the question is: What's next for the soon-to-be vacant building?

"We've had a few offers," Bosley said. "They weren't what we were looking for, so we'll wait and see what happens."

Jeff Owens, president of the Crossroads Community Association, said he'd like to see another small, family-owned business like Bob Jones Shoes that has the same level of durability take over the building.

"They've been down here when it was great, when it was horrible. They've been down here when it was great again," Owens said. "They've endured a lot through the years."

That's 58 years of memories and shoes.

There isn't a plan yet for the building, but there is a plan for the left over shoes. They'll either go to charity, or they'll sell them to another company.