Bob Wood spent Monday taking baby steps toward his future, placing shoe soles and heels and other small items in a box to move to his new shop at 212 S. Eighth St.
The next day, Wood, who owns Dawson’s Shoe Repair, formerly at 209 S. Ninth St., got some help from a moving company with the large, heavy machinery.
“We’re pretty well over the hardest part,” Wood said.
Wood and other tenants, including Acorn Books, Campus Jewelers and Allen’s Flowers, were notified in April that they would have to leave the space next to the Missouri Theatre by July 2007 to make way for the theater’s renovation and expansion on Ninth Street. The expansion will cost an estimated $6.6 million and will include an arts center.
Dawson’s Shoe Repair, which has been in business for more than 50 years, found its new home next to the Missouri Press Association building about two months ago.
“I feel relieved ... that I don’t have to worry from now to July,” Wood said. “I can concentrate on pleasing my customers.”
Estel Wood, 80, Bob Wood’s father, said that as long as the shop is in Columbia, he’s happy.
“It’s the same town, the same clientele,” he said. “We all love the people that are here.”
Dawson’s, which closed Friday for the move, will reopen at the new location Monday. Though the move will be the shop’s sixth move in Columbia, Bob Wood was enthusiastic about the transition.
“At first I was gun-shy just because any time you move, you don’t know what you’re getting into,” he said. “But I’m excited about it now.”
Bob Wood expects the new spot will become his favorite.
“This is going to have some luxuries that I didn’t have before,” he said.
The Ninth Street shop has three floors, which meant Bob Wood had to walk upstairs to use his patch machine, then downstairs to use other machinery and to speak with customers, and then to the basement to fetch heels, soles, cement and other items. The new location only has one floor.
“Twenty years ago, I didn’t mind walking all over the place,” Bob Wood said. Now, the 59-year-old, who works 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, is pleased that he won’t have to take as many steps.
Bob Wood moved into the space near the Missouri Theatre in 1984, but his family has owned Dawson’s Shoe Repair since 1956. In 1971, after Bob Wood completed service in the Air Force, he started running the shop. Estel Wood still works at the shop when he’s not taking care of his wife.
“It’s my life; it’s my blood,” Estel Wood said. “I’ve done it for 69 years.”
Though times have changed, he refuses to allow his trade to become obsolete.
“I want to stay busy to keep up with the different way shoes are made,” Estel Wood said. “There are shoes on the market that can’t be fixed; they’re disposable.”
The Woods’ specialty is rare, so customers request their services no matter where they work.
When Amanda Yoder, a customer of Dawson’s, learned Tuesday about the shop’s relocation, she told the Woods she would let all her friends know about the change. She still remembers the “awesome job” they did repairing a pair of stilettos that were wearing out.
“I consider it to be a luxury and blessing for customers to have me work on their shoes,” Bob Wood said.
Bob Wood said he’s seen college students come and go, but he still gets shoe repair business from some of them after they leave Columbia. They contact him, tell him there’s no shoe repair shop in their towns and send him their shoes to repair.
“This is the ultimate gift,” Bob said. “That they could leave Columbia, but they don’t forget.”