Local children’s shoe store ready to call it quits after 58 years

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The owner of longstanding local retailer Keen Children’s Shoes says she’s closing the store because it has become too difficult to compete in a changing retail landscape.

The store at 20 Executive Drive in Carmel is set to close Dec. 15.

“The Internet and the big-box stores have just murdered us,” said Keen owner Lisa Flowers. “Over the last five years it’s been difficult just taking care of everyday costs. It got to the point that we just couldn’t do it anymore.”

Charles and Joann Keen opened Keen Children’s Shoes in 1961. Originally located in Broad Ripple, the store later moved to Nora before moving to its current site east of Rangeline Road and north of Carmel Drive in 2000.

Flowers said Keen also had a store in Fishers in the 1990s, but by the time she came to work for the company in 2001, the Fishers store had closed.

Flowers bought the store from the Keen family in 2006.

Keen offers fitting services—measuring children’s feet to determine their shoe size, which is important because children can outgrow shoes in a matter of months. Customers frequently come in for fittings but leave without buying shoes, Flowers said, which leads her to believe they end up buying them online.

The store still has loyal customers, Flowers said, but many are visiting less frequently than they used to.

“People just haven’t been coming every three months. They’ve been coming in every six months. That makes a difference in sales,” Flowers said. “I have to do what’s right for me and my family and move on—but it’s hard.”

Calling it “probably the hardest decision I’d ever had to make,” Flowers said the closure has been tough emotionally on both her and her customers.

At age 50, Flowers said she’s looking forward to what the future holds, though she doesn’t yet know what she’ll do next.

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3 thoughts on “Local children’s shoe store ready to call it quits after 58 years

  1. I buy shoes for several growing children, and it isn’t just about size. An experience “shoe person” sees individual idiosyncrasies and can determine which style or model is best suited for each individual person’s feet.

  2. There are very few stores that understand shoe fitting. The race to the bottom is perpetuated by ideas including that it is okay to steal the expertise of a retailer and purchase elsewhere. Expertise is not free. The same parents that had their children measured and then purchased elsewhere will be whining that they can not have their children properly measured after this store closes.