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Lenny’s Shoe & Apparel comes to Plattsburgh.

Todd McCarthy, co-owners of Lenny’s Shoe and Apparel on the Tom Miller Rd. in Plattsburgh, with Lenny the Llama, a veteran of the original Lenny’s store in Vermont.

Todd McCarthy, co-owners of Lenny’s Shoe and Apparel on the Tom Miller Rd. in Plattsburgh, with Lenny the Llama, a veteran of the original Lenny’s store in Vermont. Photo by Shawn Ryan.

— There’s a new place to shop in Plattsburgh, and it’s a locally owned and operated store, with a long track record of success in Vermont.

Lenny’s Shoe and Apparel has just opened its doors on this side of the lake, and the massive showroom is quickly filling up with both customers and a growing selection of merchandise. The Plattsburgh location, on the Tom Miller Road between Smithfield Blvd. and the Military Turnpike, is the fifth Lenny’s location. It’s the first to open in 17 years, and the first in New York.

The original Lenny’s was opened by Lenny McCarthy 23 years ago. McCarthy has since turned over the family business to his sons. Todd McCarthy, who has lived in Plattsburgh for the past three years, decided it was time to open a Lenny’s in Plattsburgh.

“There’s not a lot like us here, and that’s how it came about really,” said McCarthy. “I am an avid shopper, from now being around here all the time I saw what was going on with business, and cars in parking lots, and I thought we could be a pretty good niche in this market.”

What Lenny’s has is an eclectic mix of national brands of clothing and footwear, like Carhartt, Merrell and Timberland, and smaller, independent shoe and apparel companies as well. They also carry things like work gloves, hunting backpacks, hiking gear, pajamas, hats and much more. Many people still think of Lenny’s as a shoe store, says McCarthy, but they are at least 50 percent apparel.

And while they have a large retail footprint in Vermont, McCarthy stresses that Lenny’s is still a family run, local business. They have hired 22 people so far for their sales staff, but plan to hire more as business picks up.

“Because we are locally owned, you can come in here and you’ll be able to find the owner of the company. It’s not a national chain where your voice isn’t heard. I’m in the process of getting signs up; you’ll have our e-mail addresses, my brother and my direct e-mail address. If you have a problem, suggestion, we will listen to you. It’s just the way we conduct business,” he said.

Last week’s open was a “soft opening,” and they are planning a grand opening in the spring.

When you come by Lenny’s, stop by and say hi to Lenny the Llama. Lenny was around for the first store opening, but then found himself relegated to a storage warehouse for years. When McCarthy was preparing the new store for opening, he said ‘I’ve got to have the Llama in the new store.’

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