Peoria store celebrates 100 years in the shoe business

Open For Business

It’s a big year for Moser’s Shoes in Peoria.

“We did our 100th year proclamation last Tuesday night,” said Steve Fawley. He has owned the shoe store since the early 1980’s. But it’s the history behind the business that continues to captivate the community. 

“We’ve had chances to move other places. It would almost mean like longer hours and everything and I think this area needs this,” Fawley said.

The business is the century-old brain child of Fawley’s great-grandfather, the late John Moser. 

Fawley said, “In Germany, he was a shoe cobbler. He was training to be a cobbler. So when he got to Chicago, the German Society said there’s an opening in Peoria to be like an apprentice cobbler.”

Moser worked as an apprentice when he was just 14 years old. In 1918, he opened Moser’s Shoes. The historic pictures decorating the business share how the store has been passed down from generation to generation.

“After that my great uncle took over–John Moser Jr. That would’ve been the second generation. And then my dad and aunt ran it,” said Fawley. “And now I own it.”

One hundred years after opening, Fawley attributes Moser’s Shoes success to its quality of specialized shoes. But the store has seen its fair share of challenges and changes.

“There’s not as many really good shoe companies out there. A lot of the USA-made companies have gone out of business or were bought out by somebody and then they moved them off shore,” Fawley said.

They’re challenges the small business continues to work through with the support of the community.

“It’s been good and I still like it and everyday’s different when you work with the public, you never know what’s going to walk in the front door,” said Fawley.

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