Business Spotlight: Iconic Atlantic Avenue shoe store shutters after 68 years

Mary Ford, manager and employee of Vince Canning Shoes for over 14 years, helps Judy Uhrman, a customer of seven years, try on shoes during a going-out-of-business sale. The family’s store Tootsies remains across the street. Tim Stepien/The Coastal Star

By Christine Davis 

Mark and LaRonda Denkler, owners of longtime family-run Atlantic Avenue store Vince Canning Shoes, announced that it was closing in June.
The Denklers have owned the store since 1994, buying it from Mark’s uncle, Vince Canning Jr., when he retired. Canning took the reins from his father, Vince Sr., in 1957, and Vince Sr. bought the shoe store in 1952.
“It was a timing thing,” Mark said. “The lease came up. We still have the lease on Tootsies just across the street, which we bought in 2015.” That shoe store will continue to operate with the best selections from both stores.
In 2015, the Denklers decided they could run both stores in the 300 block of East Atlantic and share staff. Tootsies carried styles with a more contemporary vibe, such as 3-inch heels, a little different from the more “mature, sensible shoes” that Vince Canning sold, Mark said. “But once we figured out what the market was, we don’t have 3-inch heels anymore.” It’s the 1.5-inch heel that appeals, he’s learned.
In addition to the lease’s ending, “we really didn’t want to fight the coronavirus slowdown,” he said. “We missed out on our two biggest months and we were overstocked in both stores. We got caught with tons of inventory.”
Nonetheless, it’s sad to see Vince Canning close, he said. “It’s a family legacy. My family has owned it since 1952. We tell our customers — they are sad, too —  that Tootsies will have a lot of the brands that they liked. We’ve taken the best of both stores, molding them into a shoe store to service our clients.”
Remaining shoes from Vince Canning are being sold at a discount at Tootsies. Employees at Tootsies wear masks or face shields; surfaces are sprayed clean; employees wash their hands often; and customers are limited to 20 at a time. “We are trying to operate as safely as we can for our customers and ourselves,” Mark said.

Other nearby retail businesses in Delray Beach that closed when their leases were up include Fresh Produce and Shining Through. Two new restaurants are Hawkers Asian Street Fare, 640 E. Atlantic Ave., and End of the Ave., 1155 E. Atlantic Ave. A Blast from the Past moved to 812 E. Atlantic Ave. and Johnnie Brown’s, 301 E. Atlantic Ave., reopened after renovations.
“The downtown is currently still in a reopening phase based on the current order,” said Laura Simon, executive director of the Delray Beach Downtown Development Authority. “We have several businesses that have not renewed their leases — some based on timing and others related to closure due to the pandemic. The vacancy rate is still very low considering the situation, and rests at 7%, which is where we normally hover.”

U.S. Construction is proposing its second oceanfront condo project in Delray Beach. The city’s Site Plan Review and Appearance Board on June 24 approved plans for Echelon at 1625 S. Ocean Blvd. A subsidiary of U.S. Construction, 1625 South Ocean LLC, purchased the 1.17-acre site for $12.3 million in January from the owners association of the Delray South Shore Club. The 15-unit timeshare would be demolished to make way for construction.

Plans for Echelon received preliminary approval from Delray Beach in June. The proposed three-story condominium will have 14 units and be just south of Atlantic Dunes Park. Rendering provided


The three-story Echelon will have 14 units ranging from 2,745 to 3,543 square feet, each with three bedrooms. The development will have a pool deck facing the ocean, a fitness center and 35 parking spaces, two underground for each unit and seven for guests. There will be a 24-hour concierge.
Prices have not been announced, but condos at Ocean Delray, which National Realty Investment Advisors and U.S. Construction are building nearby at the former Wright by the Sea, are listed from $5.7 million to $9 million.
The site is a block north of Linton Boulevard and just south of Atlantic Dunes Park. Part of the project is east of the Coastal Construction Control Line and will need approval to build from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, city staff said.
Four former timeshare owners unhappy with losing Delray South Shore are continuing a lawsuit seeking to unwind the sale.

The 10,154-square-foot waterfront home owned by Lars Nilsen at 1428 N. Ocean Blvd., Gulf Stream, sold for $10.5 million to Matthew H. Peltz, a board member of Wendy’s Co. The sale was recorded June 9.
The seller, a real estate investor from Norway, was represented by Candace Friis of the Corcoran Group. Devin Kay of Douglas Elliman represented the buyer. Nilsen paid $8.7 million for the property in 2008, and then built a new home situated on 1.87 acres, with highlights that include a home theater, a gym, a massage room, a guesthouse and a dock. 

Crocker Partners, a company that owns, operates and develops office and mixed-use projects, donated 1,500 square feet of space at its Boca Raton Innovation Campus to The Junior League of Boca Raton’s diaper bank, which serves 5,000 children annually and has distributed over 4 million diapers since 2011.
“This incredibly generous gift will help us provide diapers to local families in need, enabling babies and toddlers to attend day care, thus allowing their parents to go to work,” said Cristy Stewart-Harfmann, president of the Junior League.
Crocker Partners’ Angelo Bianco, managing partner, and Giana Pacinelli, marketing director, were instrumental in arranging the lease and partnership agreement in May.


The diaper bank recently distributed 100,000 diapers to 19 nonprofits that help needy people.
Typically, the group distributes 600,000 diapers each year, but the demand has grown because of the economic repercussions of the coronavirus. Some of the diapers were secured through the organization’s Amazon wish list and some were made possible through monetary donations.
Some 280,000 diapers were donated by the National Diaper Bank Network, to which the league belongs. All My Sons Moving & Storage delivered them.
“We are glad we were able to help with this large shipment that will in turn be delivered to so many families in need during these challenging times,” said Jameson Olsen, the company’s director of marketing and business development.
To donate diapers, email diaperbank@jlbr.org and a volunteer will pick up the donation. Or use the Junior League’s Amazon wish list and have diapers shipped directly to the organization’s headquarters. The link for the wish list is  http://a.co/6hoQI8P.

The Senada Adzem team of Douglas Elliman recently delivered more than 1,000 washable children’s masks and several infrared thermometers to Florence Fuller Child Development Centers in Boca Raton, which reopened its doors June 1.
Adzem’s team turned to a second nonprofit, one based in Bosnia and Herzegovina, for assistance with its contribution to Florence Fuller. Adzem commissioned the Association of Persons with Cerebral Palsy and Dystrophy in Goražde to produce the face masks for children of different ages. The nonprofit employs family members of patients with cerebral palsy and dystrophy.

National Council on Compensation Insurance recently donated almost three tons of food to Boca Helping Hands, which is seeing an average of 2,025 new families and individuals needing food services each day. Its pantry bag distribution has risen from 150–180 bags per day to more than 230, and it now serves an average of 324 meals per day — double what the organization usually serves.
NCCI employees recommend and select the charities that the company supports each year through the NCCI Cares program, which has helped many charities near the company’s Boca Raton headquarters.
The program also has generated community support that included more than $460,000 raised in the last two years for the United Way of Palm Beach County; more than $15,000 donated to Aid to Victims of Domestic Abuse; more than $20,000 raised to support hurricane relief efforts; 263 pairs of shoes donated to children in need; and care packages totaling 260-plus pounds sent to Kids’ Chance of Florida scholarship recipients.

 A Delray Beach-based company, Safe Space Scan Technologies, recently made available its new infrared temperature scanning technology. It complies with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention standards for business reopenings.
The 3S07T scanner, which features proprietary technology, is FCC certified and can scan for elevated temperature and mask compliance in less than one second. People without masks and/or with elevated body temperatures will receive audio alerts, as will business or building management. The Safe Space Scanner sells for $1,499.
For more information, visit www.safespacescan.com or call 888-819-7226. 

Steve Plunkett contributed to this column.
Send business news to Christine Davis at cdavis9797@gmail.com. 

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