Behind the security grills and dusty shop windows of a neglected building, hides an unlikely secret fashion museum of footwear dating back more than 70 years. And what do you do when you discover a goldmine of untouched vintage shoes? You put it on the internet of course! Reddit member Oktober75 shared photographs documenting the undoubtedly surreal experience of pulling back the cobwebs inside his family’s old shoe store which once upon a time was open for business, from the 1940s until the 1960s.
While from the inside the store lettering is visible, with the sun’s glare and the camouflage of the security gate, it’s pretty much hidden from the street.
Ran by the Redditor’s great grandmother until she fell ill, the store was never re-opened after its closure more than 40 years ago. Everyone else in the family already had their own careers and there was little interest in managing the store.
“I have no idea how profitable it was, perhaps that was a factor,” explains Oktober75 on Reddit, “My grandparents were known for hoarding. My guess is they went with the mentality, ‘it will be worth something one day’. That day came and went.”
Check out these tartan saddle shoes!
… and the lovely art deco typography and design of the shoe boxes.
Converse didn’t always make sneakers!
The shoes are in mixed condition. While most of them may look unworn, the rubber soled shoes or sneakers for example have become so brittle and dry that they’re too stiff to even bend. The heat and dry air has also damaged a majority of the shoes claims our heir to the vintage shoe store. A few years ago, a production company for vintage costumes and clothing came by the shop and bought a couple of hundred pairs from Oktober75’s grandparents.
Not until recently did the Reddit member develop a curiosity for the forgotten shoe store on the ground floor of his grandparent’s building. “As children we didn’t pay much attention to the front of the building. We were going to visit grandma and grandpa.”
“Made in the U.S.A” – a rare stamp we see less and less on our clothes and accessories.
Do you have these kicks in a size 5? You can almost picture customers squeezing their feet into a new pair of brogues on this wooden bench.
These wouldn’t be out of place on a modern day hipster’s feet….
If you’re hoping to gain access to this rare shoe museum, unfortunately, your luck runs out here. Due to security concerns, the Redditor does not plan on releasing the location. “When we’re ready to draw attention, I’d be happy to share more details,” says Oktober75, who is currently exploring options with his family on what the heck to do with their Aladdin’s cave of fashion history.
In the meantime, I’ll keep an eye out for updates on the story.
See all of the photos on Imgur here and here.