NYC shoe-mend 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 Maintenance in June, the 50th anniversary of the business her late father started.

Prior to the pandemic, the devoted daughter, 37, was arranging a fitting tribute to her dad, Minas, an immigrant from Greece, who turned internationally acknowledged after September 11 when his store was destroyed in the World Trade Center. His tale was instructed in countless article content now plastered on the partitions of the relocated company at 63 Wall Street.

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

In its place, Polychronakis quietly opened the doors on June 15 irrespective of the Monetary District’s vacant streets and workplace towers.

There are no shoe shiners on responsibility nonetheless, for the reason that “no one is dressed up” and much too few persons are again in their workplaces, she explained.

But looking at her old customers has been a person of the brightest spots of her new working day.

Bianca Alexis has been a patron for 10 many years, possessing initial befriended Minas, with whom she talked over cooking and politics.

“It’s brilliant to see them open up all over again,” Alexis claimed, adding that she introduced in a pair of white shoes that needed to be repainted.

Then there is the French health care provider, a buyer for 15 yrs, who came in with 14 pairs of footwear in the very first times after the shop reopened.

“In all the yrs she has been coming in, I have hardly ever observed her deliver in the similar pair of footwear twice,” Polychronakis reported.

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However, situations are rough: Income is down, she estimates, by 90 percent from a calendar year in the past, and summer months is by now the slow period for shoe repair.

She has utilized for a $40,000 PPP loan to deliver back again her 5 personnel for full-time work and to assist with expenditures.

The frenetic pace Polychronakis was applied to — 6-day get the job done weeks, some nights spent doing work until 3 a.m. — has been rolled again to five days a 7 days, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., for now.

Asimenia Polychronakis
Asimenia PolychronakisAnnie Wermiel/NY Post

The toughest conclusion she has experienced to make was closing a 2nd store, Omega Maintenance, situated a block away, on June 30.

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

Looking all around Minas, Polychronakis miracles about the unclaimed sneakers — more than 100 pairs — on her shelves and regardless of whether any of them belong to buyers who have passed absent from the virus or have misplaced their jobs “and are not wondering about their shoes and luggage.”

In the course of the 3 months the shop was shut, just 10 shoppers known as to select up the footwear they’d still left at the store in March.

But there are encouraging indications. Some clients mailed in shoes for repairs through the lockdown, an additional introduced in a modest piece of leather-based household furniture to be stitched up, and the locals who require her genuinely will need her. She mentioned a lawyer whose place of work reopened close by, and he stopped in to get his shoes resoled.

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“I’m still trying to be optimistic and client,” Polychronakis said. “I can listen to my father’s voice in my head telling me to keep faith.”

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