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Middlebury clothing store to close after 21 years

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Posted on July 23, 2018 |
By John Flowers



Grn Mtn Shoe in Midd_9271 CMYK.jpg
AT THE END of August, Green Mountain Shoe & Apparel will close its store in The Centre shopping plaza in Middlebury. Independent photo/John S. McCright

MIDDLEBURY — Green Mountain Shoe & Apparel will close its Middlebury store at the end of August, with the owners citing online competition as the main culprit for the store’s demise.

“I just can’t compete with the internet,” said Angie Wade, co-owner of the business, which once included stores at 1 Main Street in Bristol and in The Centre shopping plaza off Court Street Extension in Middlebury. Angie Wade and her husband, Scott, launched Green Mountain Shoe & Apparel at 20 Main St. in Middlebury back in 1997, then added the Bristol store.

It was in 2011 that the Wades moved their Middlebury store from downtown to its current location in The Centre. Angie Wade at the time said the move was in anticipation of disruption caused by a massive downtown Middlebury rail bridges project. Preliminary work is now under way for that $72 million project after several delays.

The Wades were initially happy with their clothing and shoe sales at The Centre, but evolving consumer trends have hit the industry hard, according to Wade. The couple recently closed their Bristol store after a 17-year-run, and on July 17 confirmed the Middlebury store’s imminent closing in a post on the company’s Facebook page.

“21 years. It’s flown by and yet has seemed a lifetime,” reads the post. “We started so small and eventually grew to two stores … We’ve employed your friends and maybe even family, we definitely employed all our children at one point or another. We outfitted carpenters, construction engineers, and cowgirls; farmers, firefighters, and fry cooks; even teachers, telephone repairman and tech nerds. We’re proud to have had the opportunity to do business in this exceptional community.”

Wade said the store developed a loyal clientele, but was not getting enough visits from the younger generation.

“Sales are way down,” she said. “Younger people are definitely online, and that’s the crowd (of consumers) that’s coming up.”

Everything in the store is currently priced at 20-40 percent off, according to Wade, who has taken a job as a sales associate with the RetroWorks store run by Helping Overcome Poverty’s Effects. Scott Wade began working for UPS last October.

Asked what she’ll miss most about Green Mountain Shoe & Apparel, she replied “the people. I’ve seen a lot of kids grow up. I fit them in little kids’ shoes, and now they’re adults.”

Reporter John Flowers is at [email protected]

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