We picked up a Twitter rumor that Mike's Shoe Repair might be closing, what with a For Rent sign in the window. We stopped by, and while the there was no sign posted, there was also no sign that the shop will return. It was closed at 4pm and the shelves were looked bare -- the only "inventory" looks to be peoples' shoes. We called and no answering machine picked up - it just rings and rings.
This shoe repair shop has been in the neighborhood in some form going back at least into the 1940s. Here's some history via the Voice eulogizing a long-time fixture in Noe Valley after her death in 2010:
The whole neighborhood is mourning the loss of one of our most beloved residents, Helen Weinschenk, who passed away on Jan. 19 at age 98. Helen and her husband Arthur moved to Noe Valley in 1949 and bought and operated a shoe repair shop called Mission Renewal, located where Ambiance is now. They lived in an apartment behind the store. Arthur died in 1964, and Helen continued on as the shop's cobbler until 1977, when she sold the business to Barry and Patti Wood, who renamed it the Wooden Heel. The shop moved to its current location on 24th Street near Castro in 1981, and the Woods sold the business in 2002. Helen worked at the Wooden Heel until retiring in 2004 at age 92.Miguel "Mike" Arqueta has owned the shop since 2002, and while reviews are mixed at best we never had a problem.
One of the things that makes 24th St in Noe Valley a great neighbhorhood strip is that it has services you need. Or had. A hardware store couldn't pull through, movie theaters and butchers are gone from 24th St and now it looks like we're losing our cobbler. We have plenty of clothing boutiques, coffee shops, florists and kitch - just like every other trendy main drag in the City. As one person said, "at least Union Street still has shoe repair!"
It would be sad to lose a useful service in the neighborhood. Has anyone talked to Mike lately?
Update (3/14): A tip from John Downing sent us to Craigslist:
The ad reads:
"This retail store space is located on 24th Street between Castro and Noe Streets on the south side of the street. It measures approximately 800 sf. This space is currently occupied and can be made available with 30 days notice to the existing tenant.Emphasis ours. It sounds like Mike is going to stick around until a renter is found. We'll try and found out.
[Photo: Adam Fagen]