Porter's Shoe Repair

Porter's Shoe Repair on 137 W Liberty Street is a rare jewel of the businesses in Medina's square. Shoe repair is an uncommon trade today, as only about 10,000 exist nationally. This number is also declining; however
Porter's is a thriving business today, and it had lasted over 50 years. Phyllis Porter learned the trade of shoe repair through family, and continues to do a broad range of repairs as well as shoe shining.
Porter's first started out as an Ice Cream shop on the square. The business didn't do so well and later turned into a card dealer shop. The shop ran for a little while but then closed down. In 1954 Porter's Shoe Repair was created and the business started. It was started by Robert Porter. His son (Herbert Porter), and wife (Phyllis Porter),are currently maintaining the business and continuing his work. Herbert Porter was attracted to Medina by trying to find the perfect spot to put a shoe repair shop. They found the previous ice cream shop and transformed it into what it is today. It has been going for 57 years and on, and they have built a loyal customer base with their expertise and their passion for what they do. They may have been through some tough spots through the times, such as the town threatening to raise rent, but that hasn't stopped them and they (and Porter's Shoe Repair) is here to stay for a long while.

Images

Today

Today

The Business is still going strong and the Porters treat their customers with the utmost respect. Many of the buildings around Porter's have changed through the time as well. For instance, the parking lot next to Porter's used to be a church, and there was even a movie theater next to Porter's at a time! Although these buildings have changed, Porter's has remained the same since 1954 and the 57 years the business has been going. The current day Porters are likely to be the last generation that runs the business, as their children have no desire to take over the business. Shoe repair is becoming more and more uncommon in the United States, as it is becoming a lot less profitable with people just wanting to buy new shoes and not fix the ones they already have. Porter's might be the last shoe repair shop in Medina, but with 57 years of influencing the community, their impact still makes a lasting impression Image Courtesy of Nathan McMullen View File Details Page

A Rare Trade

A Rare Trade

Phyllis Porter, the owner of Porter's Shoe Repair on 137 West Liberty Street in Medina, Ohio, works on shoes of all shapes and sizes, including this work boot. In 2002, the business was keeping afloat because of a rate on the rent that had not been raised for thirteen years, and now City Hall threatened to raise it. Porter's plan was to close up the business that had been running for almost 50 years in the event of the rent being raised. At this time, the movie theater next door had been declining, and no longer showed movies, and the once booming business block was in decline. Shoe repair is a dying trade. Earlier, in the past centuries, shoe repair was much more common, as there would be a shoe repair shop in every town. Now, in 2002, approximately 10,000 shoe repair shops are still in business in the country, and declining. At Porter's Shoe Repair, shining, applying dyes, sewing, and many other types of work are performed. Michael Morse, the city council President, showed interest in the rare business by offering a favorable rent rate of $50 more each month. At this deal, the Porters decided to stay, and Phyllis Porter continued the business which she had been running for about 10 years. Porter's Shoe Repair has a wide range of tools needed for all sorts of repairs and cleanings. The Porters take a great amount of pride in their trade and business, that had, at this point in 2005, lasted for nearly 50 years. Since Porter's opening in 1956, Medina had undergone a lot of change, especially economically. Regardless, the business still managed to thrive and become one of the businesses that make Medina unique today. Image Courtesy of The Medina Historical Society View File Details Page

The Economy's Influence

The Economy's Influence

Today, Porter's is a thriving business, with a steady stream of customers at times, as Phyllis Porter says, business "comes in waves." The economic recession has heavily influenced business for the Porters, as customers come hoping to save money repairing expensive shoes rather than throwing them away. Image Courtesy of The Medina Historical Society View File Details Page

Working not just for a community but for a minority and succeeding

Working not just for a community but for a minority and succeeding

Being African American business owners, the Porters brought a new diversity to the square that hasn't been brought before. Their business started in 1954, when the Civil Rights movement was just starting. Being African American, they were a great example of how despite racial tensions a person that belongs to a minority can still make it. The business might have even diversified Medina at the time as well. People in minorities could have seen the business and thought that Medina was a good place to start for the American dream where there was no racial tension. So still to this day, even when the Civil Rights Movement is over, they can still be viewed as examples for wanting to do what you love, and working to achieve that despite whats going on in the world at the moment. Image Courtesy of The Medina Historical Society View File Details Page

The Theatre

The Theatre

The Medina Theatre on 139 West Liberty Street has always been the only place in Medina to go to see movies in 1972. Steve Petrigala, the manager of the theatre, experienced little growth in attendance in the years before, but still gave it another chance when he bought a lease to keep it going. The building began in the 1940's as Schine's Theatre, and in 1952, the building became the New Medina Theatre, with Petrigala as manager. The business was very successful at first, as there was little competition with the television and other theatres. Porter's next door also was a successful business, where Mr. Porter was well known throughout the town, and had many loyal customers. Image Courtesy of Medina Landmarks View File Details Page

The parking lot

The parking lot

The First Baptist Church, located on West Liberty, once occupied the space that is now taken up for a parking lot next to Porter's Shoe Repair. This image is most likely from the 1920's, and the church had been standing since the 19th century. The First Baptist Church would continue to stand for decades after this picture was taken, until it was vacated and torn down. To the left of the church, the building that would become Porter's was constructed around the 1950's as an ice cream shop. The tower behind the church on the far right is one of the first water towers constructed in Medina, and it was later moved. Image Courtesy of Medina Postmarks View File Details Page

Nearby Post Office

Nearby Post Office

The Post Office in Medina, Ohio on the corner of West Liberty Street and North Elmwood Avenue has had a profound impact on local businesses, including Porter's Shoe Repair, nearby in the 1960's, due to its vacancy beginning in 1963. Businessmen such as Mr. Rapenchuk led a push for federal money to fix up the deteriorating building into a Medina Federal office building, in the hopes that business on the block will pick up. Other businessmen, such as Harold Williams, see this block as very promising, once the government building is fixed up. Image Courtesy of Medina Landmarks View File Details Page

Cite this Page:

Eric Colon; Thad Smith; Adam Zarobell; Nathan McMullen, “Porter's Shoe Repair,” Discover Medina, accessed April 26, 2017, http://discovermedina.org/items/show/15.
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