The Edwin Case Comfort Shoes store in Coolidge Corner has been sold and will close after 65 years next week to reopen as SAS Comfort Shoes. Owner Bob Kemler (left) and his son, Justin Kemler (right), say sales have been brisk since they announced they were closing. Photo by Brock Parker.
For more than 30 years, Bob Kemler has kept his Edwin Case Comfort Shoes shop alive in Brookline’s Coolidge Corner by paying close attention to customer service.
“What has sort of kept the store going all these years is measuring and fitting people’s feet, which almost nobody does any more,” said Kelmer.
But after about 65 years in Brookline, including 34 years under Kelmer’s leadership, the Edwin Case Shoe shop has been sold to San Antonio-based SAS and will close Monday, July 30.
Kemler, who is 70 years old and lives in Needham, said he purchased Edwin Case Comfort Shoes from its founder, Edwin Colpak, in 1978. Kemler said the business originally opened around 1947 as a children’s shoe shop.
Today the store specializes in comfortable shoes for adult men and women, but Kemler said only a handful of businesses in Coolidge Corner can claim to have been around as long as his.
His son, Justin Kemler, has also been working at the shoe shop, and Bob Kemler said many of his customers today have been shopping at the store since their parents first brought them in for shoes. He said sales have remained steady at the shop, and selling the business is a bit bittersweet.
“I’ve liked the business--always enjoyed it,” he said. “However, it’s a strain. It’s hard physically and mentally.”
In the past couple of years, Kemler said he’s only been working at the store four days a week and he feels like the time is right for him to sell.
Kemler said his store has been selling SAS shoes for years, and he feels a bit of his business legacy is that he can sell the store to another successful business that can renovate the store and bring it into the future.