Sneaker King Will Close Its Original Plains Twp. Store
PLAINS TWP. — After more than 71 years, the original Sneaker King store located on a street corner in the heart of Plains Twp. will close.
“This was the flagship. This was home base,” Sneaker King owner Jack Beccaris lamented on Tuesday at the store shortly after announcing the closure and final sale.
A store-closing sale begins Saturday and is expected to run through the end of December.
Beccaris’ father, John, established the store in 1946 at South Main and Carey streets as Jay-Dee, later rebranding as Jay-Dee “The Sneaker King” as it developed a loyal following of customers who came to buy footwear and apparel.
“We had a lot of faithful families that shopped with us for years and years and for generations after that. The current generation is just a different shopper and isn’t a destination shopper,” Beccaris said. “It was a good neighborhood store and has a lot of history. But the generation that made this store very popular is not shopping any longer in the area. They prefer to shop in the larger centers.”
Sneaker King tried to adapt with the times and add stores in those areas.
Other stores are located in Hazleton, Scranton, Honesdale, Matamoras, Allentown and Center Valley. They will remain open.
The closing of the Plains Twp. store leaves Sneaker King without a location in the Wyoming Valley.
A tornado in June destroyed its store in the Wilkes-Barre Twp. Commons.
The Plains Twp. store was still getting back on track after a vehicle smashed through the front display window.
“This has been a tough year for us,” Beccaris said. “Hopefully we’ll find a presence back in the Wilkes-Barre area.”
Beccaris said the corporate offices for Sneaker King will remain in the second-floor of the building. He’ll be looking to rent out the first-floor showroom. Sneaker King’s press release about its closure describes the store as “the destination where families would make the pilgrimage for back-to-school sneakers, Wilkes-Barre Area gym uniforms, Lee jeans and Starter jackets for their favorite sports team.
Customers knew each other as well as the sales team who served them.”
Prior to Beccaris’ leadership, his brother Jim managed the store for more than 50 years until he died in 2015. Jim Beccaris was assisted by a son-in-law Larry Mirigliani.
The company also operated a wholesale division supplying athletic and sport apparel to retailers throughout the country.
Jack Beccaris joined the company full time after years serving on the faculty and administration of Luzerne County Community College
Kolina Ganz, 31, a 10-year employee, said it was sad to hear the store was closing. The Scranton woman travels from store to store to work. She was working at the Wilkes-Barre Twp. location prior to the tornado and plans to work at the Plains Twp. location until the closing.
“It’s definitely upsetting to see his first store close. He’s a good guy, a great owner and a great person,” Ganz said.
Plains Twp. Commissioner Rob Sax called it “a sad day in Plains.”
“They have been a staple in our town. I’m kind of shocked. That’s their home headquarters and it’s the center of our town,” Sax said.
Over the past year, the township has worked to beautify land directly across the street from Sneaker King since it’s a busy intersection and a “focal point for our town,” Sax said. The project includes a “Welcome to Plains Township” sign.
He said he hopes a new tenant moves in quickly in the prime real estate.
“Hopefully someone will jump in there,” Sax said.
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