I had a short layover and a long walk at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport yesterday, but had to stop and take a picture of this little guy outside the Shoe Hospital at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport in Terminal 1, near Gate B10.
I was also in search of a souvenir to feature for Souvenir Sunday (Rules: under $10, no generic shot glasses.) So I stopped to chat with Hector Diaz, who was patiently waiting for customers.
His family runs the airport’s five shoe shine stands and this full-service Shoe Hospital, which has been open for just nine months. He says with the downturn in the economy and the shop’s inability to advertise in the airport, business has been slow. His best customers: pilots and flight attendants who have discovered how convenient it is to have a shoe repair shop at the airport that not only repairs shoes, but can also fix broken zippers and bags.
The shop carries shoe polish and other accessories, but Diaz says, thanks to the TSA, his bestselling item is two-packs of shoelaces, which sell for about $5. “Lots of shoelaces get broken when people are putting their shoes back on after going through security.” A great – and useful – souvenir for Souvenir Sunday!