By Michael Roknick
Herald Business Editor
At first glance it appeared Reyers Shoe Store had been dethroned.
For 30-some years the family-owned Reyers proclaimed its Sharon business was, “The world’s largest shoe store.’’
The retailer began using the moniker when it was housed on East State Street and kept using the phrase after it moved to a larger store in Sharon City Centre.
But its crown was in jeopardy when retailing giant Macy’s began an enormous $400 million makeover of its fabled New York store.
While not scheduled for completion until 2015, parts of the cavernous 1.1 million square feet of existing space have been finished. Included in that work is part of the shoe section which the retailer called the world’s largest.
On closer inspection, Macy’s proclamation says, “world’s largest women’s shoe department.’’
That’s the largest in terms of gender and as a department, not a free-standing building.
Reyers, on the other hand, claims it’s the “world’s largest shoe store,’’ selling both men’s and women’s shoes in a free-standing building.
In other words, both retailers are claiming a separate top title to two different categories.
A Macy’s spokesman wasn’t immediately available for comment, but the chain, which has a store at the Shenango Valley Mall in Hermitage, has publicly said its New York store has 280,000 pairs of women’s shoes in the department.
Owned and run by brothers Mark and Steve Jubelirer, Reyers continues to stand by its claim.
“We remain unchallenged as far as we know,’’ said Mark Jubelirer, president of the business.
While he wouldn’t be specific, Jubelirer said the Sharon store has more than 100,000 pairs of shoes – men’s, women’s and children’s.
Heavily involved in the local community and a number of area charities, Reyers serves a far smaller population base than Macy’s flagship New York store, which gets 20 million shoppers annually, Jubelirer noted.
“They are now imprinting their big footstep in New York City in a way that shines a great spotlight on the footwear industry,’’ he said. “Anything that brings such excitement to the shoe business is a good thing.’’
He added there’s more to selling shoes than just offering quantity.
Having top-notch service with a wide variety of sizes is crucial to success and Reyers has worked hard to deliver both.
“Will Macy’s bring world-class service to the selling floor? We’ll see. Will they offer the vast array of sizes that America’s clientele are in great need of? We don’t know yet,’’ Jubelirer said.
Will he visit the iconic Macy’s store best known for its annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade?
“... you can be sure that my brother and I will be making the pilgrimage to this new shopping mecca sooner rather than later,’’ he said.