If you are a Great Neck parent or grandparent or if you grew up in Great Neck yourself, chances are you fondly remember taking your child to town for that first pair of shoes. Perhaps you even remember getting your own first pair.
You also probably remember the excitement that started sometime in August every year as your family planned to go to the store to buy shoes for the start of the new school year in September.
Many of those purchases were probably made at Posturline Shoes, a Middle Neck Road fixture since 1947. Unfortunately, any future “first” pairs (and subsequent replacement shoes) and those “school” shoes will have to be purchased elsewhere.
After running clearance sales with discounts upwards of 40 percent and 50 percent, Posturline closed its doors permanently earlier this month. The store’s phone line has been disconnected and calls to owner Ian Goldbaum’s home were unanswered.
The Goldbaum family had owned the store since 1983 when Ian’s father, Mel, and uncle, Lester, bought it from the Katz family. Nat Katz first opened up 67 years ago on Bond Street but moved to 40 Middle Neck around 1950. Nat’s son, Ira, took over before selling it to the Goldbaums.
Goldbaum’s father actually managed the store for two years before buying it in 1983 and Ian worked full-time there for almost 10 years.
The store moved again to the corner location at 58 Middle Neck in 2005. Posturline had always been known for specializing in infant and children’s footwear.
Posturline was highlighted last year during a series of stories that the Great Neck Record was running to honor longtime Great Neck family-run businesses. Ian Goldbaum’s comments and observations at that time have proven to be prophetic and vividly highlight the problems that many small businesses face today.
“We’re a dying breed,” Goldbaum said in June of 2013, when he spoke of his family’s long association with the shoe store and his devotion to one-to-one customer service and expertise fitting shoes properly. “My biggest challenge is the Internet. It’s been our biggest challenge over the last five years and it’s getting worse. The Internet has made it tough for family businesses. There are chain stores and there’s the Internet.”
“Now anyone can go online, use a coupon code, get free shipping,” he continued. “Everyone’s online shopping. You don’t have to leave the house. You don’t have to schlep the kids.”
Goldbaum also spoke about increasing competition from the shopping malls, big box stores and the fact that even his vendors were selling their shoes online.
“We’re survivors,” Goldbaum said with pride. “It’s a heritage. We’re an institution. Anyone who grew up in Great Neck knows us. People come in from all over to buy their children’s first shoes because they remember us.”
Those customers that Goldbaum referred to will now miss Posturline as will many other Great Neck residents who will nostalgically recall their Posturline “experiences.”