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Family business closing in Madison County

By: Denny Trease
By: Denny Trease

Madison County is losing one of it's oldest family run businesses.

A shoe store that has been a fixture on Richmond's Main Street for almost three quarters of a century will soon be closed.

When Jett Shoe Store opened its doors 72 years ago, Franklin D. Roosevelt was President of the United States and Babe Ruth had already retired from baseball. On October 31, Jett & Hall Shoes will close the doors forever.

Store owner, Paul David Jett, tells 27 NEWSFIRST, "Business climate downtown is tough, and we have a lot of competition both in Lexington and in Richmond."

One thing Jett doesn't blame his lack of business on is the presence of Richmond Centre Mall. He says, "It may help in bringing business to Richmond from other towns. If people can't find it out there, maybe they'll think about coming downtown to shop."

Paul David Jett wasn't even born when his parents borrowed the money to buy the shoe business, but his two sisters were in the world by then so it was truly a mom and pop operation.

Jett says, "My grandfather went on their note at the bank in 1937. They bought both the business and the building, and there was no I-75 back then so people from Detroit to Florida went right down Main Street in Richmond. Children, grandchildren, spouses have all been involved in this business at one time or another."

And generations of Madison Countians have bought their shoes there and hate to see the store go. Shirley Lamb, who was shopping there on Tuesday, says, It'll be kind of sad for the people in Richmond who have shopped here all these years and always knew they could get quality here."

There's still a huge inventory in the store so a lot of shoes will have to be sold by October 31. Jett says, "We do have a great deal of merchandise to move, and we encourage people to come in because we have excellent bargains at 50 per cent and more off."

Then his eyes moisten a bit as he says sadly, "I'm not proud of having to close my family business. I wish I had succeeded here instead of having to do this."

But Jett & Hall Clothing just down the street will stay open.


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