‘Well Done!’ To Some Hometown Friends.

CochranShoesTonight I have a few things to blog about but want to take a different turn from my regular topics. While my family and I live, work, and play in Columbia, SC, every now and then I take a blogger’s liberty and type about my hometown of Anderson, SC. Tonight is one of those nights.

While Facebook is a fire hose of information, sometimes it gives a false sense that we know everything that’s going on within our different worlds. Not necessarily true, and sure enough I’ve missed something. I just found out a small business that touched pretty much all of my childhood friends closed its doors on March 1. As I searched around a little, here’s what I found out about it; “In 1958 Wilma Cochran realized her dream–that of opening her own business which was not an ordinary event for a woman in that time. Cochran Shoes has been a mainstay for children’s shoes for 66 years, but due to economic changes in our world, we regretfully feel we have to close the store. We very much appreciate those of you who have been faithful patrons and friends for all these years, we will miss meeting and getting to know your children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren. The store was opened by Mrs. Cochran, operated then by her son, Freddie, and since his death run by daughter Laura, supported by my sister Carol Anne. We are heartbroken, but it is just not financially viable to remain open. Please com by for a visit. Expected closing date March 1. We love you all.”

Cochran Shoes was the type of small family business Anderson folks remember as kids. Shoot, I’m 40 now and can remember walking around the around the place. I remember the store’s layout, even the double head bubble gum machine on the right side inside the front door.  Moreover, Cochran Shoes was memorable because of the people that owned and ran the store. Ms. Cochran with her distinctive and powerful voice at the cash register, and her son Freddie Cochran measuring our feet with that, well, foot measuring thing. This may sound odd to everyone, but having my feet measured was kinda awesome. That metal thing running across the side/bottom of my foot felt pretty good. If you think that’s weird, I’m OK with it.  

What I’m getting at is instead of throwing moms and dads a shoe with an MSRP on it, or having parents pick from a plethora of boxes on a giant wall, the folks at Cochran Shoes cared about a kid’s foot.

A huge but heartfelt congratulations to the Cochran family.  Owning and running a multi-generational family business for more than 60 years is a big deal.  That said, I know my friends Laura and her sister Carol Anne kept it going (on different levels, respectively) and poured their grandmother’s and dad’s heart and soul into keeping the doors open.  Know this, too, Carol Anne and Laura.  Thousands of people remember your grandmother and dad.  They made such an impression.   It’s sort of like remembering a favorite school teacher, which is pretty awesome. For many of us, they are a staple of our childhood.  That’s how it is for me…

I don’t mean to be all sappy on a blog page, but hearing the news about long time friends made me want to write a little something about it. After all, before our Anderson friends were in adult Nikes, Allen Edmonds, Spades, flip-flops, or Croc’s, we were in Cochran Shoes.

Well done, Laura and Carol Anne!

Franklin Jones

Disclaimer:  I don’t know the customer in the pic and I hope they’re OK with me using it.  :-O

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