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Enchanted Arts and Sole Comfort Footwear owners closing physical location after 33 years, moving to online shop amid coronavirus pandemic

Closing after 33 yrears in business, Enhanced Art and Sole Comfort have presented checks from their Shop Local Give Local Holiday Raffle.
Closing after 33 yrears in business, Enhanced Art and Sole Comfort have presented checks from their Shop Local Give Local Holiday Raffle. (Courtesy Photo)

After 33 years in the business, Enchanted Arts and Sole Comfort owners Ruth and Max Suberi are ready to retire and transition their store to an online shop after the holiday season.

The Suberis' decision is yet another example of the coronavirus pandemic forcing businesses to make tough decisions. There was too much uncertainty, ultimately forcing the duo to decide upon closing the physical store. They decided to keep their physical location open through the holiday season to say goodbye to their customers.

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“It forced us to reevaluate, and we decided to go exclusively online,” Ruth Suberi said. “We went from a busy store to dead in the waters cause of COVID 19.”

They had planned to give the shop over to their son, Nathan Suberi, but damages from the pandemic were too severe.

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“We are a casualty of the pandemic; otherwise, our son would take over the business,” Max Suberi said.

Those customers won’t have to stop shopping with Enchanted Arts and Sole Comfort as the store owners will continue to sell goods online.

Nathan Suberi has helped his parents by teaching them about data analysis and building the website they will use for online purchases. He joined the business in 2018, injecting some youthfulness into the store, prompting them to have their best two years, Max Suberi said.

The owners hope their customers will continue to shop with them through the website. They viewed the transition as retirement as the website will likely do less business than the store, and that’s OK. Some customers have been begging them not to close the store, they said.

“It will be tough with the shoe business since people like to try them,” Ruth Suberi said.

A multi-decade business comes with a history. Max Suberi said he remember customers bringing in kids to the shop, only for those children to grow up and bring their kids back to the store.

That’s how long we have been in town, and we have loved it, he said.

Over those 33 years, the small business grew. In 1987, Max Suberi opened Enchanted Art on Main St Annapolis, an exotic store with imports from Asia. In 1991, the Suberis opened a second location of Enchanted Art at the Annapolis Harbour Center, featuring products from the American Southwest and Mexico.

In 1997, they opened Sole Comfort next door to Enchanted Art. In 2005 they merged the two businesses and moved a few doors down to a larger space in the Harbour Center.

In 2018 Max retired from working in the store and focused on selling out of season shoes on the Amazon platform.

At the Light House Shelter , from Left Max Suberi, Ruth Suberi, Light House Director of Development Jenny Crawford, Nathan Suberi - Enhanced Art and Sole Comfort presented a check from their Shop Local Give Local Holiday Raffle.
At the Light House Shelter , from Left Max Suberi, Ruth Suberi, Light House Director of Development Jenny Crawford, Nathan Suberi - Enhanced Art and Sole Comfort presented a check from their Shop Local Give Local Holiday Raffle. (Courtesy Photo)

Last December, they had a Shop Local / Give Local fundraiser where they sold $5 Raffle tickets for three local charities, The Lighthouse Shelter, Wellness House, and SPCA. For 12 days, they chose winners of prizes and were able to raise $3,000. They had planned to make that an annual event, but they will do it one last time, adding a fourth charity: Maryland Food Bank.

The Suberi’s store has received The Capital Readers' Choice Winners for Best Shoe Store, Best Handbags, and Best Silver & Artisan Jewelry year after year. The couple said those rewards honored them.

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“Being apart of this Annapolis community as long as we have been has been special, and I will miss that person-to-person contact,” Max said. “The ability to serve people and make them happy and being able to establish friends.”

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