Liberty City's Greene Shoe Repair makes huge comeback
Venerable Liberty City store makes grand comeback
Erick Johnson | 4/24/2014, 9 a.m.
If the shoe fits, wear it.
Nearly fifteen months after his venerable Liberty City store was bulldozed to make way for a new transit development, Tyrone Greene reopened his longtime family business in a new, bigger location last Saturday to throngs of customers and longtime patrons who helped celebrate his comeback with a festive grand opening.
They cheered and welcomed back Greene Dreams Shoe Care Center, a new name but an old, community staple that operated for 50 years at 688 NW 62 Street. The cash registers were humming as a line of customers waited with bags of damaged shoes in tow. An employee working the t-shirt pressing machine was already working on several orders.
The new store is located at 742 NW 62nd Street, within walking distance of the old location and across from a Walgreens drugstore.
Customers perused through a large supply of shoe items, Miami Heat jerseys, t-shirts, colognes and sports apparel for children and adults.
Many were impressed and marveled at the size of the store, a 2,000-square-foot facility that’s four times bigger than the previous location. Behind the checkout desk is a service window where the cashier can retrieve newly repaired shoes.
“I think its wonderful that the business is back,” said Shirley Williams of Miami Gardens, who has known Greene for nearly 20 years. “I’ve been praying for this day to come.”
Anthony Dawsey, a resident of Shorecrest, a community near Miami Shores, traveled about six miles to show his support. He dropped off a pair of damaged shoes he held onto until Greene reopened the store.
“I wanted to support him,” said Dawsey, who’s also known Greene for 20 years. “He went through a very difficult time.”
In the back of the store, there is a very large production area where employees repair shoes and print shirts. With dozens of orders placed Saturday, Greene’s business is off to a fast start.
“This is just the beginning of something that’s going to be great,” Greene said. “We want to be a beacon of light.”
The grand opening seemed more like a victory party and a family reunion as customers reminisced about old times and feasted on appetizers donated by Wing Stop, caterer and longtime friend of Greene. Another longtime customer brought in sweet potato pies.
A family affair, most of the employees at the store are Greene’s relatives. His wife, Paulette, worked the cash register that day.
It was also a symbolic moment on Easter Weekend as Bishop Reverend Victory T. Curry of New Birth Baptist Church and Cathedral preached about resurrection during a live broadcast from the store on his radio station WMBM. Most of the Greene’s customers that day were members of New Birth as is Greene and his wife.
“I’m very proud of the how they responded with fortitude,” Curry said. “I vowed to stand with them through this whole ordeal.”
When the annual Martin Luther King Parade and the Orange Blossom Classic were held on 62 Street some 15 years ago, Greene was known to set up a makeshift vendor stand outside the store, selling dozens of t-shirts of the slain civil right leaders and FAMU’s world-renowned Marching 100 band as floats, high school drill teams and politicians passed by.