Shoes 4 Less opened on Aug. 1, and one of the store’s owners, Susan Brotherton, hopes the store will spark a chain reaction on Main Street causing other local businesses to open in the empty buildings found on the street.
“My big idea is: downtown still exists,” Brotherton said.
She and her business partner, Dexter Fugate, both say their business fills a need for the people of Hazard because most people living in town don’t want to have to drive out on the highway to get everything they need.
She added that many people who live downtown would like to see businesses return.
“There are still a lot of people on Main Street that work and live (on Main Street),” Brotherton said. “You hate to drive through town and see nothing open.”
She said she is looking forward to the long-term response in downtown to her business, which is unlike anything else currently offered on Main Street.
“It’s exciting to me,” Brotherton said. “I want to see downtown come back and not just totally disappear.”
Brotherton said there are already regular visitors who stop by to chat, and said the store has received great response from customers, adding that they’ve had customers from as far away as Whitesburg.
“Our customers seem to be enjoying themselves greatly,” Brotherton said.
She maintains that Shoes 4 Less is a locally owned business and that is another positive about the store.
“A lot of things that have come into town in the last few years are chains from other states and other places – we’re not a chain,” Brotherton said. “It’s not strangers coming in, and whatever money we make here gets spent here in Hazard.”
Brotherton said Shoes 4 Less offers just that: shoes at affordable prices. Her and Fugate get these shoes as overstock from warehouse stores and said all shoes sold in the store are name brands and brand new.
The store is open from 11a.m. to 7 p.m. to help cater to those who may be working through the day, she said.
She also said they are selling pop and candy in the store because there isn’t really a place currently on Main Street where people can buy those items.
She said she hopes Shoes 4 Less flourishes and added that she has plans to open another business in the other half of the Combs Building.
Brotherton said that she just wants to meet an underserved need in Hazard and spark others to follow her lead.
“Hopefully, we’ll meet a need that will stay here a long time,” Brotherton said.