NYC shoe-repair shop that survived 9/11 beating COVID-19 lockdown

NYC shoe-repair shop that survived 9/11 beating COVID-19 lockdown

Asimenia Polychronakis was determined to reopen Minas Shoe Mend in June, the 50th anniversary of the enterprise her late father launched.

Before the pandemic, the devoted daughter, 37, was scheduling a fitting tribute to her dad, Minas, an immigrant from Greece, who turned internationally regarded right after September 11 when his store was wrecked in the Earth Trade Center. His story was explained to in innumerable posts now plastered on the partitions of the relocated enterprise at 63 Wall Avenue.

She had hoped to celebrate with some hoopla and special promotions, like a shoe shine for 75 cents — the price in 1970.

As an alternative, Polychronakis quietly opened the doorways on June 15 in spite of the Monetary District’s empty streets and office environment towers.

There are no shoe shiners on duty still, mainly because “no 1 is dressed up” and too few people today are again in their workplaces, she said.

But observing her old clients has been just one of the brightest places of her new working day.

Bianca Alexis has been a patron for 10 yrs, possessing very first befriended Minas, with whom she mentioned cooking and politics.

“It’s great to see them open again,” Alexis explained, incorporating that she brought in a pair of white shoes that necessary to be repainted.

Then there is the French medical doctor, a consumer for 15 several years, who came in with 14 pairs of shoes in the to start with times following the store reopened.

“In all the decades she has been coming in, I have hardly ever found her carry in the similar pair of sneakers twice,” Polychronakis mentioned.

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Nevertheless, occasions are hard: Profits is down, she estimates, by 90 % from a calendar year back, and summer season is presently the sluggish time for shoe mend.

She has used for a $40,000 PPP financial loan to carry again her five employees for full-time get the job done and to help with expenditures.

The frenetic rate Polychronakis was made use of to — 6-working day function weeks, some evenings used performing until eventually 3 a.m. — has been rolled back to 5 times a 7 days, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., for now.

Asimenia Polychronakis
Asimenia PolychronakisAnnie Wermiel/NY Article

The hardest final decision she has had to make was closing a 2nd store, Omega Fix, positioned a block absent, on June 30.

She reported there is just one upside to that: “I retired my mother, who is 65 [and managed Omega]. I want her to be in a position to chill out.”

Seeking all-around Minas, Polychronakis wonders about the unclaimed shoes — more than 100 pairs — on her cabinets and no matter whether any of them belong to shoppers who have passed away from the virus or have misplaced their employment “and are not considering about their shoes and luggage.”

Throughout the three months the keep was closed, just 10 prospects identified as to choose up the shoes they’d still left at the shop in March.

But there are encouraging signs. Some clients mailed in shoes for repairs during the lockdown, an additional introduced in a small piece of leather household furniture to be stitched up, and the locals who have to have her definitely will need her. She outlined a law firm whose office environment reopened close by, and he stopped in to get his shoes resoled.

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“I’m however hoping to be optimistic and individual,” Polychronakis explained. “I can listen to my father’s voice in my head telling me to preserve religion.”

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