OLYMPIA - Downtown's Capital Footwear, a longtime shoe seller at Fourth Avenue and Capitol Way, has closed, and a new retailer is poised to take its place, the president of a commercial real estate company said Saturday.
Pat Rants of The Rants Group, an Olympia company that manages the building in which Capital Footwear was a tenant, said an out-of- area retailer of women’s clothes is expected to occupy the space in the next two months. Other details about the new business were not immediately available, although Rants said it is the second location for the women’s-clothing busi- ness.
“It’s great for the building and great for downtown because it is such a visible corner,” he said. “There are good things happening.”
The full name of the shoe retailer that closed was Dante’s Capital Footwear, named after owner Dante Gomez. Gomez could not be reached Saturday, but other longtime business owners and downtown observers said Capital Footwear’s last day was Jan. 31.
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“It’s a great loss,” said Jeanne Carras, the owner of the shoe store Bonaventure and the board president of the Olympia Downtown Association. “I’m very sad, and I’m going to miss him.”
Carras said she didn’t know why the business had closed, although she acknowledged that the slower economy that emerged in 2008 and 2009 were tough years for retailers.
Olympic Wine Merchant owner Patrick Hub, whose business is in the building that Capital Footwear used to occupy, also said that the shoe business had closed at the end of January. Hub estimated that Capital Footwear had been at that location for at least 13 years.
Hub, too, thought the slower economy might have affected the shoe business.
Although the holiday shopping season for Hub was an improvement over last winter’s because of the milder weather, January was one of the worst months he has had since the business opened, he said. He attributed the drop-off in business to the threat of furloughs for state workers.
“State employees weren’t spending,” he said. And although the legislative session has started, that tends to help restaurants more than retailers in general, Hub said.
Still, Carras said, there are retailers thriving downtown, such as Joe and Laura Cattuti’s Ginger Street, the home-decor and antiques business that relocated from Fourth Avenue to Capitol Way.
“We’re still not out of the woods yet,” Carras said about the slower economy, “but we’re still hanging in there and still doing well.”
Rolf Boone: 360-754-5403