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Wyckoff Family-Owned Shoe Store Celebrates 120 Years Of Service

Luann Rush of PedAgree Shoes checking the fit on 2-year-old Avery's new pink sneakers.
Luann Rush of PedAgree Shoes checking the fit on 2-year-old Avery's new pink sneakers. Photo Credit: Rebecca Abma
Sisters Cathy Mattei and Luann Rush at the family-owned shoe store originally founded by their grandfather in 1895.
Sisters Cathy Mattei and Luann Rush at the family-owned shoe store originally founded by their grandfather in 1895. Photo Credit: Rebecca Abma
Emilia, 2, double checks the fit of her new sneakers, while her twin sister, Avery, takes her sneakers for a test drive.
Emilia, 2, double checks the fit of her new sneakers, while her twin sister, Avery, takes her sneakers for a test drive. Photo Credit: Rebecca Abma

WYCKOFF, N.J. — PedAgree Shoes has been through three generations, four locations, the Great Depression and several recessions, but after 120 years, business at the Wyckoff Avenue shoe store is as strong as ever, its owners say.

The popular children’s shoe store in the Wyckoff Shopping Center, owned by sisters Cathie Mattei and Luann Rush, first opened in Paterson in 1895 as a Shoe Maker and Repair Shop by their grandfather.

A cobbler in Sicily, Vincent Badagliacca immigrated to America and opened a shoe repair shop on 17th Avenue.

“Our father always told us they didn’t feel the Depression like others,” Mattei, a Franklin Lakes resident, told Daily Voice. “The cobbler was on the way to Erie Lackawana Railroad Station. The location of the shoe repair saved them.”

Badagliaccat’s oldest son, Charles, later opened a retail store on Paterson’s Market Street. He named it PedAgree — meaning your feet will agree — and sold shoes for the whole family.

Eventually, Rush and Mattei’s father, Leon, took the Market Street location over from his brother, and the 1960s, with business in Paterson declining, accepted the invitation of customer Developer Nevins McBride to open a new store in his new Urban Farms Mall in Franklin Lakes.

Location again proved lucky, but as Market Basket grew, they lost their lease and moved to Wyckoff.

“It proved to be a blessing in disguise,” Rush, a Midland Park mom, told Daily Voice as she knelt on the floor helped fit 2-year-old twins, Avery and Emilia, for new sneakers.

PedAgree’s pivot to a pediatric customer base 3.5 years ago — complete with a kid-friendly logo — proved a smart business move.

At the time, Mattei and Rush were discussing retooling their focus, when Slobodien’s Stride Rite in Bolder Run closed. It opened the opportunity for PedAgree was to become an authorized Stride Rite dealer.

After 30-plus-years apiece, caring for children's footwear needs and ensuring a proper fit.

"Our father always said, check the width, then the toe, heel, etc." Rush said as she tested Avery's new kicks. "We still do it the way he taught us."

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