Gloversville is the home to several heritage businesses, family-owned shops passed from generation to generation in storefronts that reflect the charm of the downtown business district. Among this cohort of 50+ year businesses there stands a shining example of what it means to live and work in the City: Rossbach Shoes, now in its 97th year.
Rossbach Shoes sits just off of Four Corners on West Fulton Street in the same space it has occupied since the 1920s. It is an imaginarium of shoes with no true organizational method other than the mind of Mr. Charles Rossbach, the third generation to own and operate the shop. Shoes sit in boxes piled from floor to ceiling across two stories. The smell of leather and shoe polish greet you along with the smiling face of Mr. Rossbach and the ever-present background track of his favorite doo wop on the crackly radio.
To say that Rossbach Shoes is a hidden gem would be an understatement. Rossbach Shoes is everything that is powerful, pleasing and possible in downtown Gloversville.
The experience of Rossbach Shoes is not complete without a little chat with Mr. Rossbach himself, the de facto historian of downtown. His front case has shoes from the 1860s, found years ago in the recesses of the shop. His memory has stories of the little actress from Gloversville who played a munchkin in The Wizard of Oz and used to purchase her shoes from his grandfather. Mr. Rossbach, too, has stories of how downtown changed when the arterial along NYS Rte. 30A came in and businesses began to move out of the City’s business center.
Shopping at Rossbach’s is an experience in time travel. You sit and tell Mr. Rossbach what you are looking for: a dress boot in size 9, for example then you wait and watch as he buzzes around the store pulling out options for you to try and admire. Only Mr. Rossbach knows where the perfect shoe is kept and only you will know when he finds it.