Philadelphia has a lot of things. More than most cities for sure. However, there are still some things that our beloved city does not have. And until recently, Philadelphia did not have a men’s shoe store worthy of mention.
Yes, there is Allen Edmonds, Brooks Brothers, Ralph Lauren and Boyds in center city; as well as a few stores that call themselves ‘shoe stores,’ but the latter have taste levels so low it makes me embarrassed to say they actually do business in Philadelphia. What I am talking about is a real shoe store, a proper ’boutique’ if you will. Like Ubiq, but for dress shoes; like Leffot, but geared towards the tastes of Philadelphia’s well endowed shoe enthusiasts.
But then again, Philadelphia, sadly, can also claim that a fight broke out at our Christmas tree lighting this year. Oh yes, dare I forget, how could such a debacle be complete without a Union protester. True story. Rather pathetic if you ask me. Love the city I still do. But perhaps it makes one wonder if the city is ready for a nice men’s shoe store.
I’d like to think it is.
Over the past few years Philadelphia has seen an influx of menswear stores and boutiques – Allen Edmonds, Commonwealth Proper and Henry Davidsen to name a few. This year we have added tremendously with Suit Supply (Blue Claw has also opened a pop-up shop, more on that later). Word on the street is we will have a Uniqlo in spring 2014. And the of course there are the stalwarts that have been around for years.
But none of those stores are the topic for today. Today we talk about ToBox. ToBox opened less than a month ago at 25 South 19th st (btw Market and Chestnut) after a whirlwind renovation that took only a few months. Tung To, the proprietor told me that the renovation was done almost (or entirely) by friends and family; which I think is pretty cool. If Tung’s name is familiar that is likely because he previously worked in Boyds shoe department for a number of years. But I believe that both he and Philadelphia are better off having him in his new dig at ToBox.
What ToBox promises to do is fill the aforementioned void for a men’s shoe boutique in Philadelphia. So far Tung is stocking brands like Yanko, Scarpe Di Bianca, John Lobb, Saphir and a few others (pics and links below). He also told me he is in talks to bring a few more brands in but could not say which ones. I would obviously love to see Carmina, J. Fitzpatrick and Septieme Largeur come to town; but I may be biased. In addition to offering a nice spread of men’s dress shoes ToBox also offers shoe shines and shoe restoration services.
Although ToBox has been open for nearly a month the store is hosting a happy hour (with Vlahos PR) at the store next Wednesday, December 11th from 530-730pm. I plan to be there. Tung has allowed me to invite my readers to join; so hopefully I will see some of you there. Please feel free to RSVP to Tung at TTO@toboxshoes.com, or, I suppose you can just show up but I imagine they’d like to get an accurate headcount for drinks and such. Speaking of, drinks will be on the house but the shoes are on you.
Note: FYGblog received no compensation from ToBox or any associated entity in the production of this post.