The patriarch of Morey’s Shoes — which for 40 years was a staple in downtown Burbank — has died. Morris “Morey” Goodstein was 89.
His son, Alan Goodstein, recalled the time he spent working at the family store with his two older sisters.
“People would come in to the store and say they couldn’t afford shoes, and my dad would say, ‘Come in, pick out what you need and pay me later,’” Alan Goodstein said.
He wouldn’t find out about the debt until someone came in months later with payment or with gifts for his father.
“He never collected,” Alan Goodstein said.
Morey’s closed its doors in 1995 after operating 10 other stores in the region. Morey Goodstein, who opened the store in 1955 on San Fernando Road and Olive Avenue when downtown was known as “The Golden Mall,” died July 25.
He was preceded in death by his wife, Irene Goodstein, who died in 2007.
Alan Goodstein described his father as quiet but strong and as the person who kept the store going. He described his mother as a Lucille Ball or Aunt Mae type.
It may have been the reason the Burbank store was so popular.
“I think my parents just really liked people and that’s why they were so successful,” Alan Goodstein said. “People came in just to talk to them and get advice from them. They were like the local psychologists.”
There were also lessons about letting go. And the need to do so when running a family business.
“You learn to get over things in five minutes,” Alan Goodstein said. “You have to come to an agreement and move forward. Otherwise you can’t be successful.”
Morey Goodstein was active in Civitan International, a service organization, the Burbank Center for the Retarded, the downtown merchants association and the Burbank Health Foundation, his daughter Shari Epstien said.
Councilman Gary Bric said his relationship with Morey’s Shoes went back to the 1960s.
“It was just an institution in those days; everybody bought their shoes from them,” Bric said. “[Morey and Irene] gave back a lot to the community and they will be remembered for that.”
Morey and Irene Goodstein are survived by their three children — Shari Epstien, Barbara Goldsmith and Alan Goodstein — and six grandchildren.