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Hazel’s House of Shoes

In 1977, Hazel Lieber began filling the extra bedroom in her Bay Terrace home with pairs of women’s shoes she was selling to her friends.

Since then business has grown, and now Hazel’s House of Shoes, at 35-16 Bell Blvd., is celebrating its 25th anniversary in Bayside.

The store still is run by Lieber and her husband Harvey and carries the latest fashions in women’s and girls’ brand-name shoes, a wide selection of dyeable shoes and handbags. The store carries hundreds of styles from designers such as Steve Madden, Unisa and more at discount prices, Harvey Lieber said.

“We have great styles at great prices with friendly service,” he said. “Our customers enjoy shopping here.”

It only took Hazel Lieber and her fledgling business three years to outgrow the spare bedroom in her home. She sold a limited selection to friends and family, and her customer base grew entirely by word of mouth. Hazel Lieber brought her store to Bell Boulevard in 1980, her husband said.

“It started very small and it just grew and grew into this,” he said. “She wanted to do it part time and it became a full-time thing.”

Hazel’s House of Shoes only carries women’s and girls’ footwear, and the Liebers have no plans to include offerings for men, Harvey Lieber said.

“Women like to have new things,” he said. “Men don’t buy like women.”

The store gets a lot of business from bridal parties. Groups of women come in looking for those perfect shoes to be dyed to match their dresses, and the store boasts the biggest selection of styles in dyeable shoes, Harvey Lieber said.

The key to staying alive in the women’s shoe business, however, is keeping on top of the latest trends. Hazel and Harvey Lieber scour shoe shows to find the styles, fashions and manufacturers for which their customers will be looking.

“Every season we start over,” Harvey Lieber said. “There’s always new styles, so each season you’re starting over.”

The store celebrated its 25th anniversary with a party, including a customer giveaway for a weekend in Manhattan complete with theater tickets, Harvey Lieber said.

“We treated our customers because they keep coming back.”

Aside from the repeat customers in the community, Hazel’s House of Shoes attracts other customers from far and wide.

“We get a lot of repeat business because we’re always getting new people coming from all over — over bridges and tunnels, all over,” Harvey Lieber said.

But for Hazel Lieber, the best part of owning a shoe store is getting to take some of them home, Harvey Lieber said.

“She gets first pick. That’s the advantage.”

Reach reporter Courtney Dentch by e-mail at TimesLedger@aol.com, or by phone at 229-0300, Ext. 138.

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