LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - J. Carlton Shoes in Westport Village will close its doors at the end of August. It marks the end of an era for a family-owned Louisville business that has operated since 1951.
Founded by Carlton Knotts, originally called Knotts Shoes, the business opened on Chestnut Street. Over time, Knotts operated stores at four downtown locations, local malls, as well as stores in Lexington, Indiana and Florida.
Knotts passed away in 1985 after turning the business over to his son in 1980.
Second generation owner John Knotts started selling shoes with his dad in 1970, when he was just 15 years old.
"(Closing) will be bittersweet and it'll be sad to think it's coming to an end," Knotts said. "But, I think things happen for a reason and maybe it's time to close this chapter and go on to a different chapter in my life."
Knotts estimates the family sold a million pairs of shoes over 64 years. Baby boomers may remember Knotts advertisements printed on the envelope of catholic school report cards in the Louisville area. The ad included Carlton Knotts' tips on good foot care.
John Knotts blamed online sales as one of the leading reasons for closing his last store. It is possible customers today value price and convenience over the personalized service that made Knotts a household name. Knotts has four children, none of whom wanted to enter the family business.
The store will feature deep price reductions until it closes.