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I want to research shoe stores in Wilmington in the 1970s, ’80s and ’90s. How can I do that?

Ben Steelman
StarNews

Your best bet is to head down to the North Carolina room at the New Hanover County Public Library, 201 Chestnut St., Wilmington [Map this]. The library maintains a newspaper clipping file on Wilmington businesses, but for photographs of grand openings and store interiors, you might have to scan through the microfilms.

Staff members will be glad to show you how to use to microfilm readers and how to make photocopies from them.

To save yourself time, check the Wilmington city directories for the years in the decades that interest you. (The library has almost a complete set.) You can tell approximately when new stores opened. Quite a few seem to have come to town with the grand opening of Independence Mall on Aug. 1, 1979.

You said you checked microfiche files back in 1989. Technology has largely supplanted the microfiche since then, alas. You can perform a search of back issues of the StarNews and certain other newspapers using the Google News archive search engine.

Here’s a quick list of Wilmington retail shoe stores by five-year increments for the period that interests you, according to city directories:

1970

Butler’s Shoes, 143 N. Front St., Wilmington [Map this].

Cannon’s, 216 N. Front St., Wilmington [Map this].

Cinderella Boutique., 127 N. Front St., Wilmington [Map this].

Freeman Shoes, 24 N. Front St., Wilmington [Map this].

May’s Shoes, 3501 Oleander Drive, Wilmington [Map this].

Pic Way Shoe Mart, 2445 Carolina Beach Road, Wilmington [Map this].

Shoe Show, 3709 Oleander Drive, Wilmington [Map this].

Su Ann Shoes, 34 N. Front St., Wilmington [Map this].

Thom McAn, 32 N. Front St., Wilmington [Map this].

1975

Bernard’s, 127 N. Front St., Wilmington [Map this].

Butler’s, 143 N. Front St., Wilmington [Map this].

Freeman Shoes, 24 N. Front St., Wilmington [Map this].

May’s Shoes, Long Leaf Mall (moved)

Pic Way Shoe Mart, 2445 Carolina Beach Road, Wilmington [Map this].

Pic ‘n Pay Shoes, 4314 Market St., Wilmington [Map this].

Shoe Market, 4621 Market St., Wilmington [Map this].

Shoe Shack, 1051 S. College Road, Wilmington [Map this].

Shoe Show, 2657 Carolina Beach Road, 5624 Market St and 3908 Oleander Drive, Wilmington [Map this].

Shop at Pappagallo, 2231 Wrightsville Ave., Wilmington [Map this].

Su Ann Shoes, 34 N. Front St., Wilmington [Map this].,and Long Leaf Mall.

Thom McAn, 32 N. Front St., Wilmington [Map this].

Wellington and Lee Shoes, 17 S. Kerr Ave., Wilmington [Map this].

1980

Air Step Footworks, Independence Mall.

Bell’s Shoes, Independence Mall.

Boot ‘n’ Shoe, 3501 Oleander Drive, Wilmington [Map this].

Butler Shoes, 143 N. Front St., Wilmington [Map this], and Independence Mall

Cloud Nine Shoes, 30 N. Front St., Wilmington [Map this].

Fun Fair Shoes, Independence Mall.

Freeman Shoes, 24 N. Front St., Wilmington [Map this].

Hahn’s Shoes, Independence Mall.

Hardy Shoes, Independence Mall.

Kinney Shoes, Independence Mall.

May’s Shoes, Long Leaf Mall.

Pic Way, 2445 Carolina Beach Road, Wilmington [Map this].

Red Cross Shoes, Independence Mall.

Shoe Market, 4621 Market St., Wilmington [Map this].

Shoe Shack, 1045 S. College Road, Wilmington [Map this].

Shoe Show, 2657 Carolina Beach Road, 3908 Oleander Drive, 5624 Market St., Wilmington [Map this].

Stride Rite Bootery, Independence Mall.

Su Ann Shoes, 34 N. Front St., Wilmington [Map this].

Thom McAn, Independence Mall.

Village Cobbler’s, Long Leaf Mall.

Wellington and Lee Shoes, 17 S. Kerr Ave., Wilmington [Map this].

(1981 — The Poppy Shop shoe store opens at Independence Mall.)

1985

Allen’s Shoes, 143 N. Front St., Wilmington [Map this].

Bell’s, Independence Mall.

Foot Locker, Independence Mall.

Freeman Shoes, 24 N. Front St., Wilmington [Map this].

Hahn’s, Independence Mall.

Hardy’s, Independence Mall.

Kinney’s, Independence Mall.

May’s, Long Leaf Mall.

Naturalizer Footworks, Independence Mall.

Pic Way, 2445 Carolina Beach Road, Wilmington [Map this].

Revelations Shoes, Independence Mall.

Shoe Shack, 1045 S. College Road, Wilmington [Map this].

Shoe Show, 5624 Market St., 3908 Oleander Drive, Wilmington [Map this]. (no Carolina Beach Road location)

Silver Slipper, 2657 Carolina Beach Road, Wilmington [Map this].

Stride Rite Bootery, Independence Mall.

Su Ann Shoes, 34 N. Front St., Wilmington [Map this].

Sugarfoot, Independence Mall.

Thom McAn, Independence Mall (moved from downtown).

Wellington and Lee, 17 S. Kerr Ave., Wilmington [Map this].

1990

Armani, University Center near Walmart.

Butler Shoes, Independence Mall.

Foot Locker, Independence Mall.

Gussini Shoes, 127 S. College Road, Wilmington [Map this].

Hahn’s, Independence Mall.

Jarman, Independence Mall.

Kinney, Independence Mall.

May’s Shoe Store, 3828 Oleander Drive, Wilmington [Map this]. (moved)

Naturalizer, Independence Mall.

Patricia’s, 4603 Wrightsville Ave., Wilmington [Map this].

Pic Way, 2445 Carolina Beach Road, Wilmington [Map this].

Rack Room 127 S. College Road, Wilmington [Map this].

Red Wing Shoes, 3909 Oleander Drive, Wilmington [Map this].

Shoe Shack, 1045 S. College Road, Wilmington [Map this].

Shoe Show, 3908 Oleander Drive, Wilmington [Map this].

Silver Slipper, 814 S. College Road, Wilmington [Map this].

Su Ann Shoes, 34 N. Front St., Wilmington [Map this].

User-contributed question by:
Jerry W. Austin

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One Response to “ I want to research shoe stores in Wilmington in the 1970s, ’80s and ’90s. How can I do that?”

  1. On October 10, 2010 at 4:31 pm Beverly Tetterton wrote:

    The public library has a complete set of Wilmington city directories back to 1860. It may seem that years are missing but they were not published every year.



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