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Someone You Should Know: Shoe Repairman Vance Solomon

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Vance Solomon repairs shoes from his Chatham neighborhood shop. (CBS)

Vance Solomon repairs shoes from his Chatham neighborhood shop. (CBS)

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CHICAGO (CBS) — When you talk to him, you realize how much he loves his work. 

Vance Solomon is a shoe repairman, making a go of it in a field in which it’s getting harder to survive. He’s also someone you should know, CBS 2’s Harry Porterfield reports.

He’s a vanishing breed but as a shoe repairman who is passionate about his trade he’s likely to be the last man standing in that business for a long time.

Solomon remembers that as a 13-year-old kid he and his late twin brother, Vincent, had a fascination for shoes.

“We started working in shops, started loving the business, started loving how to repair shoes,” he says. “It was very interesting.

Solomon and his brother opened a shoe repair store at 349 E. 75th street in the Chatham community 16 years ago, not sure whether they’d be successful.

“There were many days you didn’t think you were going to make it,” he says.

Totally self-taught in the art of shoe repair, Solomon will tell you there are very few shoes he can’t repair. Along with making shoes look like new goes the art of making them shine like new — a service that Solomon’s shop can furnish.

He also prides himself in working with fine women’s shoes.

“We cut heels down because the manufacturer makes them too high,” he says.

So how has he succeeded in a business field where others are finding survival difficult?

“I love the people, the customers,” Solomon says.