140 years in business

On the downtown square in Humboldt, there's a store that's been operating for 140 years. It's called "Marburger's Shoe Store." We visited with owner George Marburger about it.

"It's a four-generation store. Great-grandfather came here we think in 1879, and started making shoes and boots for men," Marburger said. "Sometime in the 1890's, they added a line of manufactured shoes. All of the time, someone was repairing shoes or making shoes. Eventually the boot-making stopped, but the repairing kept on going." Marburger points out that it has not always been a man running the store. His grandmother also ran it for years. "She operated from from 1918 until the 1960's, because her husband died." Marburger says his dad then took over the business, and his dad passed it on to him.

Marburger's shoe store is believed to be the oldest shoe store in the state of Nebraska. "The earliest one that claimed it was in Seward," Marburger said. That store is no longer in business. "Presently, we are the oldest," Marburger said. The store used to be a family shoe store that carried shoes for women, children and men. But Marburger said it got hard to keep up with the trends. "About 20 years ago, we got out of the women's shoe business, but we stayed with the men's shoes and the overshoes."

The business in Humboldt not only provides shoes for men, and shoe repair, but Marburger also offers repairs on everything from lawn mowers to chain saws in the back of the building. "I fix generators and pumps that go with the small engine trade," Marburger said. The business recently got an award from the Chamber of Commerce in Humboldt for being in business 140 years. "This business is a commitment," Marburger said. "And someday it won't be mine. We'll have to find someone who wants to work to keep it going."