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Picture a couple of Fargo police officers directing crowds of customers at a downtown shoe store.
That’s the way it was during the 1940s at the R Bootery winter shoe sales.
“It was a big deal. Back then, there wasn’t all of the competition,” said John Green, third generation owner of R Shoes in Fargo’s West Acres mall.
It’s been just over 90 years since his grandfather Fred G. Green and partner Ralph Rothrock opened the Rothrock and Green Shoe Store at 302 Broadway in 1918.
“It was really a nice store. I loved going in there,” said Fran Scott, who first visited the store in 1942 with a high school friend.
“My girlfriend bought her shoes there,” Scott said. “But I couldn’t afford to, so I used to go with her.”
She started buying shoes there when she got a job at the telephone company.
“I made $13 a week,
and I paid $15 for a pair of shoes,” Scott said. “My mother was so angry; she just had a fit.”
She’s been a customer ever since because R was the only place that had shoes that would fit her narrow feet. Penney wing of West Acres employs 10 full and part time people.
At one time, the Green family operated three shoe stores in the mall.
Long family history
Fred G. Green and Ralph Rothrock operated the Sample Shoe store in Superior, Wis., for nine years before coming to Fargo in 1918.
Green was born in Canada and spent much of his early life in Duluth, Minn., according to Forum archives.