Man, I should have expected this, but when these things happen, it is still somewhat of a shock. The legendary first boot store on the internet, Big Black Boots, is closing shop. The owners, Ron & Rich, posted a message on their website that reads…
… well, read it for yourself:I don’t blame ’em… Ron and Rich have been in the business for 34 years. It is time for them to enjoy a well-deserved retirement.
I have communicated with each of them over the years. Their vast knowledge of boots, particularly of Wesco and Dehner Boots, has been incredibly helpful to me as I learned more about boot construction and the market for these kinds of boots.
Their website has been a terrific source of information. They freely shared their knowledge in a sensible, direct and concise way that provided a service and tremendous value to the boot world, including lil’ ol’ me.
I looked back at my boot acquisition records, and found that I ordered my first pair of boots from them via mail order in 1986! This is the company from which I purchase a pair of crotch-high Wesco Boss boots (back in the days when I was younger and was just getting into this “boot thing.”)
Turns out, I never really could wear those crotch-high Wescos. They were so darn heavy that even back then when I was lighter on my feet, I felt like I was walking like Frankenstein because I could not bend my legs that much.
That is also the reason why I never could wear those boots while riding a motorcycle. I could not bend my knees enough to operate the gear shift on the left and rear brake on the right. The only time I wore those boots on my bike, I almost dropped it — twice. Parked the bike, came inside, and struggled for over an hour to get those suckers off my hot and sweaty legs.
Back to the subject… Big Black Boots has been a legendary contributor to the Bootman’s world for a long time. After all, they gave us this legendary image that probably sold more Dehners than the Dehner Boot Company ever did:
And in recognition of same, I placed my last order for a pair of Dehners from Big Black Boots last night. Sorta my “legacy” pair. (Note, I will probably clean up and sell some of my older Dehner Boots that are smaller and don’t fit me that well these days.)
I am sorry to see Big Black Boots close up shop, but again, as I am approaching retirement myself, I get it. Everyone needs to decide when to close up a chapter of one’s life and move on while healthy enough to enjoy life. (I couldn’t help but notice that Rich went on a cross-country train trip with Larry of HotBoots fame recently. Good for him!)
As I look back on my evolution in the Boot world, I am grateful for learning from such helpful, friendly, and interesting men. I appreciate the service I have received from Big Black Boots when I bought boots for myself, and also for some friends (sometimes on short notice, such as for a cop at his marriage ceremony while in dress uniform.)
Thanks, Ron and Rich. You have been great contributors, friends, and are special gentlemen. I wish both of you well as you turn the next pages in your book of your lives.
Life is short: appreciate contributions of legends.