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Monday, October 18, 2021

Top-brand shoe store to open today near Oaks Mall

Students now have more options for buying top-brand shoes on a mac-n-cheese budget.

Designer Shoe Warehouse, better known as DSW, will open its first Gainesville location today in the Oaks Square plaza on Newberry Road, near the Oaks Mall.

The building will house about 25,300 pairs of discount designer shoes, said Randy Guenot, superintendent of the renovation project by A. F. Alber Retail Contractors.

DSW’s goal was to create a signature look and make every location similar. The Gainesville store has the striped awning and warehouse look like the other stores, Guenot said.

DSW will join six other stores in the shopping center, said Rebecca Yates, director of property management for the plaza. She said the grand opening will be on Thursday.

Discount shoe store Famous Footwear is located next door to the new DSW location. With the opening of the store, assistant manager Ryan Kirby said he anticipates Famous Footwear’s sales to decrease temporarily but to eventually level off.

The store is looking to potentially relocate to Archer Road by November, said Kirby, a 22-year-old junior public relations major.

Famous Footwear’s stock includes athletic, dress, casual and children’s shoes, he said. The store, which has about 20,000 shoes in its 10,439 square feet of retail space, has been in the same location for 13 years, Kirby said.

Other city shoe stores also have concerns about DSW opening in Gainesville.

Duke Pinner, owner of Pinner’s Fine Shoes, said he carries higher quality shoes than the discount shoe giant. The store opened on the corner of West University Avenue and Southwest 34th Street about 45 years ago.

Pinner said his store and DSW cater to different audiences. He said his smaller store is able to provide customer service and extra sizes that the big-box stores don’t carry.

The building that will house DSW formerly held Borders, a national bookstore chain that filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2011. The store laid off about 20 employees when it was shut down.

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Spirit Halloween temporarily used the space after Borders closed. Negotiations to put DSW in the building began in late 2011.

“We were sad when Borders closed, and we had a dark spot in the shopping center,” Rebecca Yates said.

She said DSW’s arrival will boost business in the plaza and around the mall area.

“DSW brought that life back,” she said.

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