Martin Samowitz, who founded the discount shoe chain Marty’s Shoes in 1974, passed away on Dec. 6. He was 99.
Born in Queens, N.Y., Samowitz grew the Secaucus, N.J.-based retail company to 100 stores in New York and Florida.
“He was a very charismatic type of a man, a very smart businessman and a very sincerely nice human,” said John Adams, a longtime business partner.
In 1996, Samowitz handed over the firm’s day-to-day operations to Adams, and in 2006, a private equity firm acquired Marty’s. Bankruptcy forced the stores to be liquidated in 2008.
But in 2009, Samowitz, then living in Florida, again partnered with Adams to bring back the Marty’s name. Today, the chain, now based in Westwood, N.J., has 23 stores in New York and New Jersey.
“Our company bears his name, so we have an extra responsibility [to live up to his legacy] since he’s passed,” said Adams, who is chairman and CEO of the revived business.
Prior to his career in footwear, Samowitz took part in the Battle of Iwo Jima as a member of the Army Air Force attached to the Marine unit, and he was believed to be the battle’s oldest living participant.
He is survived by his wife, Paulette; daughter, Lani Marcus Haynes; and two granddaughters.
Samowitz also was a longtime supporter of Two Ten Footwear Foundation, and friends and associates have requested that donations be made to the Martin A. Samowitz Tribute Scholarship at Two Ten.