Shiny personality: Skills, gift of gab fuel C-Street shoe shine business

Larry Hairston will place you on a pedestal. Granted, you’ll have to step up there yourself, but the chair is comfortable. 

By the time you step down, Hairston guarantees two things: The first is that your shoes will absolutely glow, looking brand new. And the second: 

“If you’re not in a good mood when you get here, you’ll be in a good mood when you leave,” he said. 

The owner and operator of Brand New Shine has set up shop in Springfield, working every first and third Tuesday inside Blu Styles, located at 223 E. Commercial St.  Hairston, 68, has close to three decades of experience cleaning and shining shoes. 

It doesn’t matter what kinds of kicks are on customers’ feet, he’ll shine them — from nubuck to patent leather. He is unafraid of suede, and even seeks out sneakers to make them squeaky clean. 

Hairston has established some custom techniques and methods — he applies polish by hand, for one. The natural oils of the skin on Hairston’s hands act as a conditioner for the leather, he said. 

Much like a bartender from “Cocktail,” he can spin and toss his brushes during a shine. He spoils his customers with something he calls a “foot massage” — a series of thumps and taps on the top of the feet wearing the shoes being shined.

What really makes Hairston stand out are his stories. Blessed with the gift of gab from his father, he listens to customers and shares stories from his past. 

“These ain’t stories, it’s true life stuff,” Hairston said. “I have so much fun with this job, it just shows. I can’t help it.” 

Read more about the article at the Daily Citizen here.