Obit: Morris Kalinsky, 86

Morris Kalinsky, one of the industry’s best-known independent retailers, died on Saturday. He was 86.

Kalinsky bought Bob Ellis, a store on King Street in downtown Charleston, S.C., in 1950, and built it into a high-end retail force. Over the years, Kalinsky’s eye for fashion and unwavering devotion to customer service paved the way for Bob Ellis to become one of the industry’s most powerful independents.

“Morris never takes his eye off his customer, and he keeps her in mind all the time,” George Malkemus, president of Manolo Blahnik USA told Footwear News in 2008. “He does his job better than anyone I know.”

Kalinsky’s passion for the footwear business made a big impression on his sons, Jeffrey and Barry. In 1990, he teamed up with Jeffrey to debut a store in Atlanta, and he and Barry have been running Bob Ellis together for the past several years.

For more on Morris Kalinsky’s 60 years in the business, see next week’s Footwear News.

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