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Blue Ribbon Shoe Shop leaves longtime home on Broad Street

July 2, 2017 GMT

One of the oldest businesses on Broad Street closed its door for the final time Friday. Blue Ribbon Shoe Shop, owned by Joe Murray, closed as his lease ended June 30. Building owner Nathan Roberts of ArborHaven Investments said he notified Murray the lease would not be renewed back on Feb. 13 for the 409 Broad St. storefront.

“We believe we have been getting damage between the buildings, so in order to replace the joists — which have been here since 1860 — we weren’t sure how much of the original structure we are going to have to tear away within the shoe store,” Roberts said. “It would be irresponsible to suspend his business indefinitely.”

Roberts said he has allowed Murray another month to empty all of the equipment, much of it decades old. Roberts said he has offered Murray space in another building he owns in North Rome, but has not gotten a firm response yet. “We will work with him to relocate his equipment while we continue to renovate this space,” Roberts said.

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Joe Diprima founded the shop in 1914. It was originally almost directly across Broad Street from its current location. He bought the buildings at 407-409 Broad St. a couple of years later, and moved the shop across the street where it has been ever since.

Julius Diprima took over the business after his father and he turned it over to his son, Paul Diprima, in the early 1990s.

The current owner, Joe Murray, learned shoe cobbling from his brother, George Murray, who operated the Broad Street Shoe Hospital in the Cotton Block. When learned that Blue Ribbon might be available, he contacted Paul Diprima and the two worked out a deal.

Murray’s son LaDon Murray has followed in his father’s footsteps, continuing the history of family operations that were established over a century ago. Now the Murray’s are looking for a new place to plant the business’ roots.

In a text message to this reporter, LaDon Murray asked, “If anyone knows of a building that is for rent, please let me know.”

Roberts said he just refinanced the entire building Friday and has plans for the shoe shop space, but said he would make those known at a later time.