A Shine & Co: Swing Dancing meets Shining Stars

May 6, 2011 § Leave a comment

Shoe shines are addictive. It’s like having a mini-foot massage while resuscitating your favorite pair of shoes.

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Recently I learned that the place that introduced me to the world of shoe shine, A Shine & Co., is quite special beyond the great service rendered and friendliness of its staff. So I went back to investigate what makes this company unique.

It all started in 1996 at the Crocker Galleria. The dot com was booming and shiners were in demand. Meanwhile swing dancing was making a comeback, which led to the creation of a one of a kind business, mixing “entertainment and conventions.”

In addition to shining shoes, most of the original shiners also performed swing dancing. There’s not much of that going on anymore; only memories and photos of the swing dancing events showcased at the shoeshine stand located at Bank of America remain.

An important thread of this enterprise is that all of the original crew members were recovered alcoholics, but this is no longer the case for now the staff includes non-alcoholics. “Our primary goal is to help others to help themselves and in turn help others. We have expanded our staff to include non-alcoholics who fit in with our crew and who can benefit from a sober and deeply caring environment,”  the website explains.

Today, 24-year-old Isaac worked on my favorite black flats, and explained that about 85 percent of the staff is in recovery. Isacc is not in recovery, but talked about the family feel environment, which is at the core of the business. A majority of employees come to work as part of fellowship programs.

“we get to look out for each other and it’s nice that way. You don’t need to explain if you need to leave early to attend a (AA) meeting,” he said. And while doing business is the goal, this is not all about profit, it’s really about the work environment, he continued.

So whenever you need to give some TLC to your beloved pumps or need a ten minute pampering, you might consider visiting A Shine & Co’s at one of their three locations: Bank of America Building, Crocker Galleria and One Embarcadero Center.

Ta-da! Happy shoes!

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