Picway Shoes

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TenPoundHammer
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Picway Shoes

Post by TenPoundHammer »

Does anyone know anything about this chain? I know that they had a large number of stores in 31 states and were bought out by Payless in 1994 (source: http://www.highbeam.com/doc/1G1-15770784.html ). What was the chain's history? Did it have any distinctive store features?
rich
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Re: Picway Shoes

Post by rich »

They were owned by the Kobacher family, which had owned low-end department stores in Buffalo, Columbus OH, & Springfield OH, as well as furniture stores in Toledo. The department stores in Ohio (I don't know about NY) were bought by Davidson's (aka Federal's) of Detroit in the 50s or early 60s, but retained the Kobacher name. The HQ for Pic-Way was either in Toledo or Columbus (I rather think Toledo). For years, they advertised 2 pair for $5, at a time when even a cheap pair of decent shoes was well over $5. The shoes were cheaply made (no surprise), with lots of plastic and cardboard. Gradually, they added somewhat more expensive shoes, but for many years, the stores had 2pr/$5 prominently on their sign. They turned up in the Cleveland area in the early/mid-60s, initially in areas away from the city, with sizable Appalachian populations---Eastlake and Painesville. I remember stores in Toledo from the same vintage in blue collarish suburban areas. No one I knew would be caught dead admitting that they had shoes from Pic-Way (ditto, clothing from Spartan-Atlantic, which was a couple miles away). We never went even out of curiosity.
TenPoundHammer
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Re: Picway Shoes

Post by TenPoundHammer »

I have a vague recollection of Pic-Way here in Michigan. They usually opted for stand-alone stores for some reason. I know there was one across from Fashion Square Mall in Saginaw, and one next to the Baskin-Robbins in Bay City (oddly, the only B-R in the Tri-Cities for nearly 20 years), which still had a "Parking for Pic-Way Shoes" sign in the parking lot until maybe five years ago. Both of these are now standalone Payless stores — never mind that Fashion Square Mall itself has a Payless.
tkaye
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Re: Picway Shoes

Post by tkaye »

They came to the Puget Sound area around 1987. Many of them went into new strip developments that were being built at the time. I couldn't find an example of their logo online, but it was a rounded multi-colored letter "P" that had a tail that extended from the loop. I recall the interiors having a "P" high on each wall with the colors (orange and brown?) leading off the tail in a straight line around the perimeter of the store.

If they added "somewhat more expensive shoes" by then, as Rich said, I'd hate to have seen what the quality must have looked when they first started. I would say they were a step below (pardon the pun) even Volume/Payless Shoe Source.
TenPoundHammer
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Re: Picway Shoes

Post by TenPoundHammer »

(Moved from the Kinney thread, more relevant here)
The one exception to the malling of shoe stores would have been the ultra cheap Pic-Way chain, which went for freestanding locations and would have been unattractive as a shopping center tenant in its early 2 pair/$5 days.
According to an old phone book, Courtland Center in Flint had a Pic Way. It later became a Payless until Payless moved across the hallway — right next to a Famous Footwear! — to make way for a relocated (and now-closed) Old Navy.
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Brian Lutz
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Re: Picway Shoes

Post by Brian Lutz »

tkaye wrote:They came to the Puget Sound area around 1987. Many of them went into new strip developments that were being built at the time. I couldn't find an example of their logo online, but it was a rounded multi-colored letter "P" that had a tail that extended from the loop. I recall the interiors having a "P" high on each wall with the colors (orange and brown?) leading off the tail in a straight line around the perimeter of the store.

If they added "somewhat more expensive shoes" by then, as Rich said, I'd hate to have seen what the quality must have looked when they first started. I would say they were a step below (pardon the pun) even Volume/Payless Shoe Source.
Now that you mention this, you have me wondering if the former freestanding Payless Shoe store in Redmond Center might have been one of these. The building was already there by 1980 according to HistoricAerials, although it is possible they took over the existing building too. After Payless moved to another shopping center in town, this space was occupied by a physical therapist for a number of years before the building was torn down earlier this year to redevelop the shopping center.
The Sledgehammer - Version 2.0 - Seattle Area Malls, Retail History, and other random things.
tkaye
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Re: Picway Shoes

Post by tkaye »

Brian Lutz wrote:Now that you mention this, you have me wondering if the former freestanding Payless Shoe store in Redmond Center might have been one of these.
I could be wrong, but I don't believe that Picway was in the Puget Sound area before the mid-'80s. The Washington state tax registration for The Kobacker Co. was opened in 1985. In the south end, Kobacker/Picway entered the market by acquiring Gordon's Shoeland, a local Tacoma chain, in 1987.
Gary21228
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Re: Picway Shoes

Post by Gary21228 »

Kobacker also operated the shoe departments in G.C. Murphy and Murphy Mart stores in the 1970s.
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