Wednesday 21 February 2018

'I'd a pain in my neck looking up at giants all day!' - Large size shoe shop Heather's closes its doors after 150 years

Heathers Shoes Credit: Google
Heathers Shoes Credit: Google
Louise Kelly

Louise Kelly

The owners of a family run store in Dublin that closed its doors for the last time after 150 years have been overwhelmed by well wishes from previous customers.

Based on Arran Quay, Heather's Shoes was known nationwide for its speciality in footwear for those with larger feet. But it's an accessory range that owners David and Denise Heather fell into.

"We got into selling larger size footwear completely by chance," Denise told RTE's Sean O'Rourke show.

"We bought stock from a shop that was closing down and there were a lot of big sizes in it, that's going back 25-28 years ago.

"We thought we'd never get rid of those shoes but the demand was there. It took us a long time to source different models, though, and about ten to 15 years to build up a proper range for the bigger sizes."

Customer demand is still just as strong but the couple, who have worked side-by-side for several decades, have decided to take life at a slower pace.

David shared some of the history of the iconic store, as the Heather name was over the door since 1868, despite moving to several different addresses on the street at first.

"When my grandfather died, my grandmother ran the store and she had six sons. When she passed away, the sons all went their own way - but my father concentrated solely on number 17 selling shoes.

"My brother later took over from my father, but when he got sick, I took over the business."

The couple fondly retold memories of fitting David Andrews and Brian Lenihan Snr, 'the man with the wavy hair', in addition to their own love story.

"I walked in [to Heather's] at the age of 14 and started as a Saturday girl. I worked the summer holiday and just never went back to school," said Denise.

"Then I married David when I was 18...we're very lucky to have worked 24/7 all these years and are still very happy." 

Heather's sold shoes for both men - and women up to about ten years ago - up to a size 19.5 or 20.5 UK.

"I'd go home on a Saturday and I'd have a pain in the back of my neck from looking up at these giants all day," joked David.

Larger size footwear can be still be ordered from suppliers online.

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