Dickson City staple Clem’s Shoe Store to close

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DICKSON CITY, LACKAWANNA COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — Local businesses in our hometowns may have changed over the years. One such business in Dickson City, a staple of the community, is the latest to see the effects of time.

“The business has been there at least ninety years. We’re the oldest business in Dickson City,” said Clem’s Shoe Store owner Robert Defazio.

Defazio has a long rich history in NEPA and can recall all the well-known places that have popped up over the years.

“My dad came over with his family from Italy, they migrated, and they settled in South Scranton. There was a shoe repair institute in Scranton called Moffitt’s. And that’s where all the young guys went to learn the trade. He came to Dickson (City) probably around 1930’s- early, early 30’s; And I could remember all of the places, Vets Cafe, Ziggy the tailor, the old bank on the corner, Ricci’s Furniture, Kovaleski’s bar, Moskowitz’s hardware, Joe’s men shop, Chopkin’s Bakery, Louis Simon his hardware store. I remember them all. Quality market here on the corner” said Defazio.

Clem’s stocked all the products you could ever need to keep your shoes looking their best.

“Shoe polish for repairing the appearance of your footwear. We got navy, we got gray, we got white. We got different shades of brown, black,” said Defazio.

The well-known shoe store has been put on the market, but there have not been any offers made as of yet.

“I’ve had an ad in one of the Wilkes-Barre papers for about ten days. Building, business, you walk in, I walk out. $125,000 for everything-I didn’t get a call in ten days,” said Defazio.

“He makes sure they fit right before you walk out the door. You get something mail-orders, you never tried it on. You didn’t try those shoes on and they send them to your house. What happens if they don’t fit right,” said Scranton native and customer Jim Waitulavich”

“When people came through the door, there was always a story. I heard stories of family backgrounds, and the good, the bad, and the different. But I have to admit that the people in this valley have been a joy to work with, and to appreciate them tremendously,” . . . “I enjoy talking with people. And sharing their experiences and their livelihoods, and ‘what do you do for a living?'” said Defazio.

Defazio looks forward to being able to retire but does admit that he will miss the store, the people, and working in the Valley.

“It’s been a tremendous joy! It really has been. And I’ll look, I’ll look sad at the day when I have to lock up the door. But until then, we go day by day, and every day is enjoyable. When I quit, I’m going up in my rocking chair, on my beautiful deck, and I’m going to wait for the angels to come,” said Defazio.

Robert says the only thing he wants to accomplish before handing over the keys is to sell his stock of work boots.

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