I was diagnosed with a neuroma in my right foot this week. Happy Valentine’s Day to me. It’s annoying and causes pain whenever I wear heals, or am on my feet for too long. The doctor gave me a shot of cortisone and I was referred to a shoe store to pick up shoe inserts to help relieve the pressure. Feeling old and embarrassed, I expect a simple dash into the shop to get what I need, but instead I discover a lot more.
I briskly walk through the doors and quickly find the inserts. The gal behind the counter sports purple-tinged black hair and asks if I need help. How hard can finding this insert be? But I show her my paper of what I came in to collect and she asks for my shoe size. I glance around when she picks just the right insert. Like glitter, my eyes are enticed by rainbow-colored leather cording that calls out to be pet. Well hello there leather!
The next thing I know I’m getting whisked about down the isles, this way and that. The purple-haired owner, gives me a tour. I learn her name, Lynette, and she proudly introduces me to the leather, belts, buckles, rivets, leather carving, stamping tools, and jewelry bits too. Lynette’s passion for leather goods shines through. She shares how her husband started the business in 1978 and has repaired thousands of shoes, belts, bags and zippers. Since then, the store has grown and diversified. This isn’t just a shoe place, no, no, it’s a modern day mercantile. The electric mixture of old and new caters to a diverse bunch. Some of Lynettes patrons include cowboys, steampunks, native american artists, mask artists, and motorcyclists along with us common folks. And Lynette’s friendly nature helps make me feel welcomed and not excluded. I see her industrial sewing machine and my heart skips a beat along with the various shoes that have been collected for mending.
Lynette rings up my inserts and some Chicago screws, and then gives me a copy of a leather catalog. She can see it in my eyes….cupid has struck me with his bow and the DIY gods are smiling down from the heavens. I strut my gimp foot out of there with more bounce and panache than before. DIY projects dance in my mind.
Now who else wants to make some custom leather-stamped belts?
Be sure to visit and support Sanders Shoe Service in person, downtown, 630 Marion St NE, Salem, OR, Mon-Fri 8:30-6, Sat 9-5. And say hi to Lynette for me.