Shoes are the most important clothing items one wears, since one’s comfort is based on their fit. Shoes are also an important accessory to the garments worn and are intended to complement clothing fashion and style and make a statement about the wearer. When the local shoe boutiques focus on work boots and shoes, this reveals important information about our lifestyle here in Bradford County, PA.
Traditionally a farming area, our county has also had a number of large manufacturing facilities become major employers in the past 50 years. More recently, northeastern PA has also become a major producer of shale gas. None of the professions associated with these industries are well suited to fancy footwear. Add to this the interest that our residents and visitors have in hunting and fishing and the scarcity of paved roads and sidewalks, and it becomes obvious why so called fashion footwear is out of fashion here, and work boots and shoes are in.
Our shoe stores are boot, work shoe, and sneaker boutiques. Here are some of the most popular:
The New Shoe Store – This vintage double storefront on Main Street in downtown Towanda a block from the Bradford County Courthouse is cluttered with posters and stacked with boxes of every boot, shoe or sneaker a country man or woman could need or want. Parking is on-street or in free public parking lots scattered in back lots close by. Don’t expect decor in this old-fashioned, non-renovated store. What it does have, though, are boots, work shoes and sneakers, and lots of them in major brands. Do expect to rummage through piles and piles of merchandise. You will find what you want here, but you might have to dig for it.
Tractor Supply – Located on Elmira Street in Athens Township, Tractor Supply carries a large line of boots for every use, including the horseman or woman. I got a pair of C.E. Schmidt Fit for Her Work Boots here, and they served me well this year as our winter was six months long. Rubber barn boots in popular colors are in good supply, as are hiking and western riding boots. Tractor Supply has a large parking lot, so parking is never a problem.
Bill’s Ace Hardware – Located in Dushore (Sullivan County) on a back street, entrance to this store is tricky as you must cross a little stream using a tiny bridge. Once you find the store in this quaint, old fashioned town, you will find every form of work boot that you’ve ever wanted. Bill’s also does traditional shoe repair, which is hard to find in this throw away society. Bill’s also carries a line of moccasins which can’t be beat.
Payless – In the Bradford Towne Center mall in Wysox off of US Route 6, Payless carries a full line of shoes, sneakers, boots, and dress shoes for everyone. This is everyone’s shoe store, and if you need a pair of fashion ladies’ shoes, this is likely where you will buy them. You can also purchase children’s ballet and tap dance footwear here. The parking lot at the Bradford Towne Center is large but poorly maintained, as the owners of the mall live in a distant city and are not responsive to the problem. The potholes are huge and can swallow your car, so don’t get caught up in one of them. Watch for Payless’ clearance sales and BOGO (buy one get one) sales. Payless gives a AAA discount, so show your membership card.
Peebles – Located in the Bradford Towne Center mall in Wysox and in the Elmira Street Athens Township mall, Peebles has a mix of shoes, work boots and work shoes, and boots for all. The stock is pricier than Payless but about the same quality. Peebles runs good sales, and has a senior discount if you shop on Tuesdays.
K-Mart – Located in Wysox and in Sayre, K-Mart offers a full line of shoes, boots, and sneakers for all. Prices are the lowest at K-Mart and it is a great place to shop if your shoes are going to get ruined in the mud in the spring anyway.
Rainbow’s End – Main Street Towanda thrift store which supports the Memorial Hospital Auxiliary’s good works. It carries an always changing stock of used shoes and boots, including some “better shoes”, some of which come from outside our area. You might be able to find a great pair of shoes at a very bargain price here. Keep checking as items come in daily.
If you are lucky enough to visit Bradford County, you’re just going to have to dress like a local. Prissy shoes or dandy footwear doesn’t impress us,and if you want a pair of name brand pumps around here, you’ll have to shop in the thrift store or at a yard sale to find some, or go elsewhere. I got a pair of leather Lucchese handmade riding boots for my horseback riding daughter in a $1 bag at a local yard sale. Isn’t footwear all about the lifestyle it supports, and not about how much you spend?