Sneaker King In Plains Twp. Closing
PLAINS TWP. - After more than 71 years in business, 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. Beccarris’ 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 store in the Wilkes-Barre Twp. Commons was destroyed in June by a tornado. The Plains store was still getting back on track after a vehicle smashed through the front display window. Contractors were installing new flooring on Tuesday. “This has been tough year for us,” Beccarris said. “Hopefully we’ll find a presence back in the Wilkes-Barre area.” 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 Beccarris’ leadership, his brother Jim managed the operation of the store for more than 50 years until his passing in 2015. Jim 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 a number of years 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. 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.