After almost 70 years on York Street, Barrie Ltd. Booters is planning to close, its owner confirmed Wednesday.
John Isaacs, the owner of the shoe store located at 268 York St., would not specify when the store plans to cease operation, saying he would give the press more details on the store’s closing next week. Isaacs said the closure was the store’s decision, but declined to specify a reason.
“The lease that was presented to us was presented in such a way that Yale wants us to stay in the neighborhood and wants us to stay a Yale tradition, but we the Isaacs family and Barrie Ltd. [have] made a business decision to close our stores based on many criteria,” Isaacs said.
David Newton, director of University Properties, Yale’s real-estate leasing department and the owner of Barrie’s lease, said he would wait to comment until Isaacs made a public announcement of his plans.
A petition presented by the Nicolas Maier ’04 at the Trumbull College dining hall Wednesday night said University Properties’ lease offer forced Barrie Ltd. to close.
The lease, the petition said, would have required Barrie Ltd. to remain open for 71 hours per week, 361 days per year as part of University Properties “Open until 9!” campaign. The store is currently open from 9:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m Monday to Friday and 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. on Saturday.
Isaacs said he had no knowledge of the petition and was not encouraging its circulation.
John Pollard, the University Properties leasing representative to whom the petition is addressed, could not be reached for comment yesterday.
Jim Fitzgerald, manager of the nearby J. Press store, said Barrie Ltd. and his store have shared a long history together, noting that Barrie was located for years in the part of the J. Press building that now houses Phil’s Hair Salon.
“We’re very upset to see them go,” Fitzgerald said.
The store was started in 1934 by Harry B. Isaacs, John Isaacs’ grandfather, as part of a row of men’s clothing stores and had expanded to locations in Cambridge, Mass., and Princeton, N.J., by the end of the decade. The other locations closed during World War II, but Barrie Ltd. has remained a New Haven fixture ever since.
“This store was actually designed to serve the Yale community, so back in the beginning, we were selling a lot of penny loafers,” Isaacs told the Yale Daily News in 1995.
Maier found out the store was closing when he asked about the sale signs in the store’s windows.
“I think it’s a shame that the development plan is going to basically exclude local family-owned businesses,” he said.
Scott Healy ’96, executive director of the Town Green Special Services District, said Barrie Ltd.’s products and its atmosphere are important to the area. He said he recognizes that it could be difficult for the store to add an additional shift to accommodate the later hours.
“I sympathize with both sides of that potential dilemma,” Healy said.
But he said extended hours are necessary to attract more shoppers and that the plan only really works if every store participates. Since many people work during the day, they cannot shop until later in the evening.
“By having later hours, you’re creating a new culture that says this is a 24-hour city,” Healy said.