ENDICOTT (WBNG) – After six decades serving countless customers, Hank’s Shoe Service is getting ready to close its doors for good.
The store located on 112 South Nanticoke Avenue has been a go-to place to buy and fix any type of shoe.
Debbie Smith says her husband Billy bought the store in 1975 and ran it until his unexpected passing in April of this year.
“Hank Dalas owned it as a repair shop first and my brother in law told Billy he should come down and see it. He bought it the same day,” said Smith.
From there, Smith expanded the repair shop to sell shoes from 35 different companies and brands while also showing his talent for helping customers find that perfect fit.
“He served the people. It didn’t matter if you were rich, poor, crawled in, he did the same with everybody,” said Smith. “We did our own inserts, he cast his own in the casting room and made the inserts. No one every brought back a pair of inserts that he made. He was amazing.”
Smith says customers have also expressed how taking their shoes to the shop has positively effected their health.
“He’d fix a lady’s shoe and she’d say ‘Is it alright if I kiss him?’ and I said ‘By all means go ahead’ because they were just so thankful that the doctor told them ‘there’s nothing more we can do’ but Billy found a way to fix them,” said Smith. “He could tell what to put you in when he watched you walked through the door. He’d say, ‘you got a problem with your sciatic nerve or your dropped foot’ and he’d know exactly what was wrong with them.”
Smith says long time customers are saddened by the news of the store closing and continue to share stories of Billy and how much they will miss the store.
“They all say the same thing, how much he is going to be missed and how much they loved him and not a bad word has been said,” said Smith. “They just can’t drop off a piece of anything. Pocketbook, luggage, that he would fix. There’s not going to be anyone in the area that does it.”
The Smith family says they have been looking to sell the store for months.
They tell 12 News they do not have an exact date for when they will close for good but they are expecting to close down in October.
The family says all unsold shoes will be donated to Catholic Charities.