By Jonathan Phelps email@example.com
---- — ANDOVER — The legacy of shoe stores continues at 45 Main St. with the Greater Boston Running Company moving in.
The sports footwear and apparel store is expected to open around Thanksgiving in the former J.L. Coombs storefront in November, according to Steve Meinelt, store development manager.
The store is a part of a larger company that owns 25 stores, Meinelt said. There are three locations in the greater Boston area — Lexington, Newburyport and Hingham.
“We have been looking at Andover for a while and the right space became available at the right time,” Meinelt said. “We should be starting construction in the next week or so.”
Meinelt said they were looking for a vibrant downtown area with an active community. They also took into consideration local high school athletic programs in moving to town.
A grand opening will start Nov. 28 and last until Dec. 2, and will include activities, promotions and sales.
The store will include footwear, apparel and other related running accessories. Employees will also be able to offer customers a gait analysis, which helps pinpoint which running shoes would be best for them., Meinelt said.
“We are looking forward to serving the Andover running community and helping to fulfill their fitness goals and needs,” Meinelt said.
J.L. Coombs, a footwear store, closed in January after being in town since 2007. The lease at the store was up and the company decided not to renew it because of a decrease in customers and sales.
The store was previously Daher’s Shoe Store before J.L. Coombs, a Maine-based company, bought it.
Andover also lost Stride Rite, a children’s shoe store, a few storefronts away from J.L. Coombs, in January. That storefront is now occupied by Sense of Wonder, a gift shop that sells jewelry, artwork, furnishings, and accessories.
Sense of Wonder opened on Sept. 1 after moving from the Eaglewood Shops on Route 114 in North Andover.
“It has been very well received,” said owner Jay Smith. “Our type of store is more downtown. We like to be a part of the community.”
He said he and his wife Jean were excited to be able to open in time for Andover Day last month.
“We were able to promote the store and meet new people,” he said. “We had a really food time.”