Pandemic plays role in closure of Downtown De Pere shoe store | WFRV Local 5

DE PERE, Wis. (WFRV) A longtime shoe store in downtown De Pere is shutting its doors after decades of doing business. The pandemic forced its owner to make the tough decision to close-up shop.

At Klika Shoes in De Pere, a going-out-of-business sale is underway. A decision made by owner Dave Klika, who was forced to close his doors for over two month in spring because of the pandemic.

“We lost a whole lot of business in that spring season,” said Stacy Stueck, Klika’s daughter.

“That was devastating, we weathered it, bills were paid and everything was fine there. But I wasn’t going to do it again, I’m not going to take that chance,” said owner Dave Klika.

Prior to the pandemic Klika’s plan had been to retire in 2021 and sell his business to his daughter Stacie. But the uncertainty in retail caused by COVID convinced him he should retire now on his own terms.

“I worked too hard just to let COVID beat me so to speak. I wanted to beat it,” Klika said.

And that sale to his daughter has been put on hold.

“I would have to take money from her and with the uncertainty, there was no way I was going to sell it to my daughter and not know what’s going to happen,” Klika said.

“It’s not where we thought we’d be, but it’s definitely the smart situation,” said Stueck.

For half of her life Klika’s daughter Stacie has worked in the store and closing it is bittersweet.

“You can’t take this risk with people not leaving their homes, not actually going to work, people don’t need the shoes that they use to need on a daily basis,” Stueck said.

“Hopefully she’ll open in a year or two and see how everything looks. She’d love to be in her own store and I’ll be there to support her. But until then this is the best way,” Klika said.

To close under his own terms and to move forward in the age of COVID.

“You just have to support those small businesses. I mean they are kind of the backbone of this country,” said Klika.

Klika says his going out of business sale will continue through September 19.