GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. — Benges Shoe Store, a local business downtown, is shutting its doors after over 100 years.
Benges opened in 1911 when Bruce Benge’s grandfather move from Iowa to Grand Junction. The store has been passed down three generations, and Bruce Benge says, “we have more friends than we have customers, which is a wonderful thing to have, and we’ve had a great run.”
For the last 4 years, Bruce and his wife have been thinking of retiring because unlike Bruce’s father, Bruce unfortunately doesn’t have anyone waiting to take over the family business. However, the pandemic was that final push for Benges Shoe Store; insofar, earlier in the year, the surge in COVID cases caused the shoe empire to close for six weeks, and once the business finally opened again, the customers did not come rushing in. In turn, Benges had to cancel its fall shipment of shoes.
However, Bruce isn’t leaving the shoe store without many great memories and love from the community. Robin Gilman has been shopping at Benges for about 40 years. She says, “they have been such a gift to this community. I will miss them very very much.”
In addition, as Mesa County transitions to Level Red on the COVID Risk Dial, companies all over the county will most likely experience new challenges, and to these potential future hardships, Bruce, who knows of the difficulties, says, “there’s no crystal ball out there to project any of it, so just hang with it as long as you can.”
Lastly, before Benges officially shuts its doors, Bruce would like to thank the city for all these wonderful years, and says he has been so blessed to have such a supportive community.