LUDLOW, MA (WGGB/WSHM) -- A local woman who has owned a popular shoe store in Ludlow is closing her doors for good.
Comfort Shoes has been serving western Massachusetts residents for the last 30 years, but with online retailers taking over, the local business feels it's time to throw a retirement party.
All good things must come to an end. That's what one business woman is feeling after announcing the closure of her store, Comfort Shoes, which has been open for the last three decades.
"It's not just a five year thing. It's a three or four decade career, so there's been a few tears shed, there's no doubt, but we also had a lot of laughter and memories and that's what I want to go with," said Comfort Shoes owner Donna Wishart.
Wishart told Western Mass News as a local business woman, she has owned multiple stores and has always worked hard to set herself apart from massive retail stores and other competitors.
"I've been fortunate enough to see the trends come and go. I think what effected my business first was the self-serving businesses such as Fava, Payless, and those were, if you would, my competition. We were always a sit-and-fit shop. We measure and fit shoes, so we did often stand aside and different...but because they were also less cheaper than what we sold, we had to hit the ground running with better service and better product just all the way around full-service establishment," Wishart added.
Wishar noted that seeing one of her competitors, Payless, go out of business is the way of the world.
Comfort Shoes said one of the most difficult thing when owning a local business is competing with online shoppers since most shoppers are looking for convenience, rather than price.
Over the years, Wishart has seen the industry change from in-store purchases to online shopping - from comfort to high heels and everything in between - but one thing that has remained the same is her love and passion to serve the community.
"It takes a lot of stamina, it takes a lot of brain power, a lot of organizational skills. It takes a lot of compassion with the public, which isn't an easy place to be in the world," Wishart said.
One loyal customer has been shopping at Comfort Shoes for the last 10 years. He said nothing compares to Wishart or her business.
"She's been a real good friend. She has whatever you need for shoes," said Mark Kaczowka of Ludlow.
Comfort Shoes is in the 'final four' weeks of its retirement sale and is offering 40 percent off all items.
While Wishart waits for her inventory to run out, she said she plans on spending more time with the loves of her life: her three grandkids.