Sunday, February 21, 2010

Izens Shoes

Izens Shoes is one of the only original shops still in business here on the North and Pulaski strip. If you need shoes, dress or gym shoes, this is a place I encourage you to go. It still eeks out an existence with Payless and Footlocker across the street and the $10 dollar bootleg shoe place on Grand and Pulaski. Those of you that romanticize mom and pop stores, this is the real deal, and needs to be celebrated.

Mr. Izen's Story:

"My grandfather, Samuel Izen, came to Chicago from Russia with his 17 year old son Julius around 1903. They opened a very small shoemaker's shop on the near south side in the vicinity of Maxwell and Halsted Streets. He lived in back of the store to save money so that they could send for the rest of the family - my grandmother Peltie and the children Rose, Max, my father Morris, Molly, Ben and baby Libby.

"My father and mother opened a Florsheim shoe store on North Avenue near Crawford (now Pulaski Road) in 1923. The businessmen in that area flouished because the Pioneer Trust and Savings Bank on the corner was one of two banks that remained open during the great depression. IZEN'S SHOES is still in that location. It retains the Izen name even though it is owned by people who bought the business from our family."

- Author unknown

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