New Jersey Couple Buys Every Pair of Shoes From Closing Store, Donates Them to Women’s Shelter

July 30, 2019 Updated: July 30, 2019

A New Jersey couple’s quick trip to find a pair of shoes ended up helping hundreds of women and children walk more comfortably after they bought out a closing Payless store then donated all the shoes to a women’s shelter.

It started in late June when Patrick Riordan and Susan Cook walked into a Payless store in Hamilton, New Jersey, looking for a pair of tan shoes for Susan and possibly something for the grandchildren, reported Hamilton Pulse.

Payless ShoeSource has filed for bankruptcy twice in less than two years. Although the international shoe retail chain is expected to close all its 2,300 stores in the U.S., there are still several dozen remaining in New Jersey, according to

As a part of the going out of the business sale, everything in the store’s inventory was liquidated for $3.

“As we walked in, they changed it from $3 to $2,” Riordan told CBS3.

The pair struck up a conversation with the employees about the closing of the business and asked when the final closing date was. After learning that the employees wanted to have the store emptied as soon as possible, they decided to do something incredible.

“I turned to Susan and said, what if we buy everything and donated it to charity in which she quickly replied, that would be awesome,” Riordan told Hamilton Pulse. They moved on to ask the store’s manager if they could buy every single pair of the store’s remaining shoes for $1/pair.

“Ring it up,” said the manager, who made a few calls to the district’s manager and then told the couple every last item in the store—ranged from $40 kids’ sneakers to $60 work boots, $5 water shoes, different tights, $30 slippers and more—is now just $1 each.

The couple walked out with a lot more shoes than they originally planned. They spent $247 to buy all 247 pairs of shoes that would take up 11 bags, reported CBS3.

“There were all kinds of shoes. Kids sneakers, boy sneakers, light-up sneakers,” Cook said, noting that the retail value of the shoes they bought was probably about $5,000.

With 11 bags of items, the couple would have to decide to whom they would donate their purchase. Susan’s daughter Racheal suggested WomanSpace, an organization in Lawrenceville, New Jersey that provides emergency shelter and legal services for women and children who escape from domestic and sexual violence. She also volunteered to help transport all the donations.

“Thank God for my daughter, she knew right away who to call, and we needed to load the rest of the items in her car because we couldn’t fit it all in our car,” Cook told Hamilton Pulse.

“It is generosity like that which allows us to provide for the hundreds of families that reside in our programs,” wrote WomenSpace in a Facebook post, in appreciation with the couple’s act of kindness.

“Whether long term or short term, whether they come for individual counseling or group, we can offer them the basics that most people take for granted and we can do that because of this generous family and others like them that understand the importance of sharing.”

“Small things like a pair of shoes can make a big difference to people in need, especially kids. Maybe we could create a ripple effect,” said the couple in an interview with Hamilton Pulse, hoping their generosity can inspire more good deeds.

“Human compassion and people caring about other people—that’s what matters.”