BETHEL, Conn. -- New Balance Bethel is one of the first business casualties of the new year, but a fitting replacement should soon follow suit.
A sign on the storefront said the store is conducting a going out of business sale. Store manager Erik Tonner said the owner, Bob Rohrlich, plans to retire. Tonner plans to work with a new ownership team to open a new store that will offer similar services but with an expanded product line.
“I’m looking forward to it like you wouldn’t believe,’’ Tonner said. “It has been my goal my whole life. I’ve been selling shoes for almost 30 years in the area, and have a lot of great relationships with customers and doctors who recommend us. I respect them, and they respect what I do. I feel like I have a commitment to them, and I love doing it.”
Tonner said the decision to close New Balance is not due to the store’s sales performance. The store opened in July 2007 and has been one of the mainstays in the plaza at 83 Stony Hill Road, which also includes a Big Y grocery store, a liquor store, a dollar store and a fitness center.
Tonner said the New Balance store will close on Jan. 20. Details still need to be worked out, but the new store should open in March. “It’s going to be a family shoe store and we’ll carry multiple brands, including New Balance,’’ Tonner said.
New Balance Bethel was one of the first tenants in the complex, which opened in 2007. The store sold New Balance footwear and apparel and was popular with fitness enthusiasts in Bethel, Danbury, Newtown, Brookfield and other nearby communities. The decision to close does not affect the New Balance store in New Canaan, Tonner said.