Monday, December 22, 2008

The Stride Rite Parties

Two shots of downtown I took in the early '90s on a visit to Flint. A depressing block with the shells of Grandmother's Kitchen and Betty Richard's. Does anyone remember buying shoes at Drew's Stride Rite as a kid? Or going to the parties that Mo Arvoy threw in the old shoe store?


  1. I think all of my shoes came from Stride Rite when I was a kid and I remember the salespeople being really nice. I can even remember some of the shoes I got there. Actually, I never forget a pair of shoesl. But I'm not mistaken, wasn't there also a store over at Northwest Plaza on Clio and Pierson? Seems like there was a Maas, Vogue, perhaps an Economy Shoes, a Stride Rite and of course the Fair all right next to each other in that plaza.

  2. Ventured through that building just before it was demolished. Creepy. There useta be a mini scarecrow that would mysteriously move from window to window every great once in a while much to the amusement of the punkers who hung out at the Crapitol across the street.

    You can view the wreckage by watching the Dead Steelmill video on the Flint Music Archive page.

    I'm not positive, but I think Ace's Records was located on this block. It coulda been located one block north where the Water Street lot is ... anybody know for sure?

  3. yep. all of my shoes as a young fella came from the Stride Rite store. I think they made me run faster.

  4. I remember parties at the shoe store, I think people called it "The Shoe Box".

    Ace Records was originally located at 124 E. Kearsley, and then moved to 130 E. 2nd St., right next to the Capitol Theatre.

  5. The Flint Mortgage Co. Building had Greenblatt's Furs on the left, Grandmother's Kitchen in the middle storefront and Betty Richards clothing on the right. The Stride Rite store was in the Samuel J. Finn building. The building on the far right was the Capitol Hotel. Of course, this block of buildings was across from the Capitol Theatre on E. Second St.

  6. Mo Arvoy was the grandson of Morris Leibov, who owned Morrie's Shoes in the Thonpson Shopping Center on Richfield as well as Drew's, and one other location as well. Maybe it was called Economy.

    I knew his parents, Floyd and Jody, but only recall him as a small boy. The Leibovs and the Arvoys were clients of Dad's.

    Maybe I should try to get Dad to write, he knows so many Downtown stories...

  7. Hee hee...I smoked pot with a friend at Ace Records in the back of the store...Mark (the owner) was cool about punk favorite kind at the time.He moved to California and disappeared.


  8. Oh, I do hope Ace Records' site isn't gone. We were just talking about it (me and my sibs) on the holiday. It seems like it must have been a standout, as a punk store in a Midwest town in an era when punk was not widely known or accepted (wait, when was it ever?). My sister Helen discovered Gang of Four there (the band, not the Chinese gang).

  9. When I was a kid all of my footwear came from Drew's Juvenile Shoes, so it was a little surreal partying at the "Shoe Box".

    Then again, growing up in Flint in the 80's was nothing if not surreal.

  10. Was it Morrie's Shoes in the Thompson Shopping Center that use to have one of those carnival funhouse mirrors that made thin people look fat? And as well as the funhouse mirror -- they also had a live monkey that would mimic the things that people would do to get its attention? I can't remember the name of the shoe store - but if my memory serves me correct - they were a shoe shoe that sold Hush Puppies.

  11. Yes, it was Morrie's Shoes in the Thompson Shopping Center.

    In the back of the store, they had a "kid's corral" with a wagon wheel chandelier. It featured eight hurricane style lamps.

    In the eighties, when the whole center was aging, I recall that one of the globes had been replaced with a Faygo bottle.

    I do not recall the flavor.

  12. Great walk down Memory Lane. The Drew's sign is in my garage. It actually spent ten years with me in Boston and is now home in Michigan. My cousin still has some old posters for Shoe Store concerts.

    Ah yes, the old days. My Grandfather had Drew's, the Economy on Saginaw Street, Hush Puppies in the Small Mall, Stride Rite at Eastland Mall and Genesee Valley, stores at Thompson's Shopping Center and Northwest Shopping Center, and locations in Saginaw, Howell, Frankenmuth, and Lapeer at some point. I might be forgetting something.

    Some of my fondest memories as a kid are of hanging out at Drew's, going over to James men's store in the Capitol Theater Building to place a bet on that night's Tiger's game with Jim MacLogan, lunch at Uncle Bob's, sodas at Shapiro's, bantering with my baseball coach Jerry Brown at Betty Richards Apparel, and on and on.

    Well, this certainly has inspired some run-on sentences.

  13. My little league team at Kearsley Park was Betty Richards (77-78?). Us "dudes" were not too fond of a ladies clothing store for our name. Plus we had bright orange shirts with blue felt lettering!?!? and the icing on the cake was we suuucked!


Thanks for commenting. I moderate comments, so it may take a while for your comment to appear. You might enjoy my book about Flint called "Teardown: Memoir of a Vanishing City," a Michigan Notable Book for 2014 and a finalist for the 33rd Annual Northern California Book Award for Creative NonFiction. Filmmaker Michael Moore described Teardown as "a brilliant chronicle of the Mad Maxization of a once-great American city." More information about Teardown is available at