Navigation bar

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

So Much More Than Shoe Repair

I had the most wonderful experience this week and felt compelled to share it with you all. So it all started with some great leather boots and a pair of peep toe shoes (doesn't it always?!). Both pairs of shoes were thrift store finds that needed new heel caps so I took them to a local shoe repair shop. Little did I know that this simple errand would turn into such a heartwarming experience.

Now I know what you're saying, Why spend $10 to fix up shoes that you only paid $3 for? Well, these aren't just any shoes, they are vintage Ferragamos. These shoes go for $500-$600! Ferragamo is a very famous fashion designer that has been around forever but sadly it seems like many people around Columbus, Ohio have never heard of them. So, much to my surprise the gentleman that repaired my precious pumps stepped out from behind the counter and looked at me with wide eyes and asked where in the world did I get these vintage Ferragamo heels? Then much to his surprise I told him- Goodwill! 

This led to a lengthy conversation with a man by the name of Wayne. He asked me about myself and I told him about my blog and how I make beauty out of discarded, forgotten about items. He thought that was just the smartest thing ever and had many kind words of encouragement for me. He said I must be the belle of the ball and that my mama must be real proud of me. Both of which I could not deny. I found myself feeling strangely open with this man I had just met minutes before. Suddenly my jam packed agenda for the day didn't seem quite so important.

Now Wayne is a man that loves shoes! His brown eyes just light up as he talks about them. He told me about fixing some swing dancing shoes for a man a number of years back and how those shoes carried that man all the way to Hollywood and 1st place in a swing dance tournament. Wayne humbly told the man that he must be very talented to have made it to Hollywood and to have taken 1st prize. But the man informed Wayne that everyone at the tournament was very talented but he was the only one with these shoes! 

I am pretty sure Wayne's eyes started to get a little misty as I said with understanding, It made you feel like you were a part of something bigger than yourself didn't it. He nodded in agreement. 

Wayne went on to talk about the history of his shoe repair business which I thought was fascinating. The business was started by a Jewish man in the 20's. This man had to wait many years until his mother passed so that he could marry the love of his life, a German woman. Since the couple was older they had no children. So when it came time to sell the business the Jewish man could think of no one better than Wayne, a black man who he thought of as a grandson to pass his legacy to. The year was 1953 and if you know your history then you know that everything this Jewish man was doing was  beyond controversial. But he followed his heart instead of what everyone else was doing and thus paving the way for young Wayne and probably many other African Americans in Columbus, Ohio.

It is just amazing to me how such a simple moment can turn into something so extraordinary. How a single conversation with a stranger can touch you so deeply. I don't think Wayne and I could be much different as people but I believe God connected us in a very special way that day. I'll be honest, I am not someone who regularly talks to people I don't know and I unfortunately usually find myself in a hurry and probably missing moments like this. But on this day God had something other than a busy day full of errands planned for me. I left that repair shop with goosebumps feeling incredibly hopeful and encouraged.

Take the time to open up your heart today to someone who you normally would not. You might get more than just your shoes repaired.

Repairing your old shoes is a thrifty way to get more mileage out of them! It is totally worth it especially if you have a pair that you love! So if you are in need of shoe repair or a new notch put into an old belt go see Wayne and his lovely wife at the Graceland Shoe Repair Shop in the Graceland Shopping Center. It will make your day- I guarantee it!

Graceland Shoe Repair Shop
184 Graceland Blvd. 
Columbus, Ohio 43214
10:30-6:30 Mon.- Fri.
9-3 Saturday

Pin It


  1. That's a lovely story. I have talked to a few people like that and gotten a peek into a life, what an extraordinary pair of lives you got a peek into with one conversation. He sounds like a truly lovely man. Now I know where I will go to get things repaired, too...he cares so much...

  2. wow~ You got Salvatore Ferragamo shoes for $3. Good Job !!!! Nice story. If I have shoes need to repair, I will definitely go there :)