Adams Shoe Store in Grafton closing after 28 years

Adams Shoe Store in Washington Square shopping center in Grafton plans to close Aug. 30 after 28 years, the owner confirmed. The Newport News store will remain open.

"The slow economy, of course, has hurt," said owner Norman Shields, 54, of York County. "We're just consolidating that store into our Newport News store."

Additionally, one store will make it easier and more efficient to manage, he added. Adams Shoe Store features a variety of women's and men's shoes and sizes, with more than 35 brands and multiple widths. The larger 5,200-square-foot Newport News store shows that to customers better as the Grafton store is half the size, Shields said.

The Grafton store, which was one of the original tenants in Washington Square in 1986, plans to advertise discounts and specials, particularly on summer merchandise, starting Monday. Shields plans to keep the Grafton employees as he anticipates customers will travel to the Newport News location in Warwick Center near Hilton Village. The business has 10 employees total.

Adams Shoe Store has had a presence in Warwick Center for 55 years and in Newport News since 1935, Shields said. Shield's father, Norman Shields Sr., bought the business from the Adams family in 1968 and owned it for 42 years before he died in 2010.

Adams Shoe Store is one of the few remaining locally-owned "sit and fit" stores, where staff helps customers find and try on footwear, Shields Jr. said. The owner also tries to stock what customers say they need. It has become the store's niche and the business draws customers as far away as Franklin, Richmond and Elizabeth City, N.C., and has a mailing list of more than 20,000 customers, according to Shields.

The Grafton location is at 5240 George Washington Memorial Highway. Store hours are Monday-Saturday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. with extended hours until 7:30 p.m. on Friday.

Bozick can be reached by phone at 757-247-4741. Sign up for a free weekday business news email at TidewaterBiz.com.