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Archive for Thursday, January 24, 2013

25 years ago: Old downtown shoe-repair store closes its doors

January 24, 2013

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From the Lawrence Daily Journal-World for Jan. 24, 1988:

An announcement in this week's Journal-World read: "With pride and sorrow after 75 years and one million shoes repaired, we have retired from business.... We thank you, one and all." And with that, one of the oldest of the long-time downtown Lawrence businesses closed its doors today. Burgert's Shoe Service, which had been located in the 1100 block of Massachusetts for 75 years, had stopped taking shoe-repair orders on the last day of 1987, and owners Hazel and Lloyd Burgert had spent this month clearing out tools used by several generations of their family. The shop had been started in 1911 or 1912 by R. O. Burgert, who had set up his business in a little white building at 1109 Mass, moving in 1924 to a newly-built structure a few doors down at 1113 Mass. Now, the shoeshine chairs had been sold to antique dealers, the stitching machine to a saddlemaker, the brass shoe stands had been given to family members, and the obsolete "heel replacer" was probably on its way to the junkyard. As for the giant wooden boot that had once been on display, it was going into retirement along with its owners. "It goes home in our den," said Mrs. Burgert. "It is older than I am," her husband added. "Dad bought that when he set up the business. It was always out on the street until they got that city ordinance that you couldn't sit things out." He added that the big boot had been known to attract pranksters from Mount Oread. "The fraternity fellows would come down, put it on the street car, take it off to their fraternity house. Two or three days later somebody would call us up and we would go pick it up." The joint career had worked well for the couple, Mrs. Burgert said: "Being together 24 hours a day and we're still talking to each other after 42 years says something," she laughed.

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