The shoe repair business has been around a long time, although there’s typically an emphasis on dress shoes and the like. But in Birmingham, Alabama, two friends can lay claim to creating the state’s first Black-owned sneaker dry cleaning service which has expanded quickly since its opening.
Tavaris Godbolt and Alvin Miller are the founders of The Shoe Clinic, an idea that began humbly in Godbolt’s apartment. The frugal Godbolt had a pair of Air Jordan Retro 13 Flint sneakers he wasn’t ready to part with, so he applied some cleaning techniques and brought them back to life. After posting the results on social media, interest in his cleaning techniques gave him and Miller the idea to start a business.
The Shoe Clinic officially started in 2014 and Godbolt and Miller now have a storefront in downtown Birmingham. They’ve also expanded the focus of the business beyond sneaker restoration. The Shoe Clinic also does customizations and sells an at-home sneaker cleaning kits as well. Miller’s brother, Marcus Goodman, helps to support the shop’s operation.
It isn’t just about shoe repair and custom kicks for Godbolt and Miller. Every Saturday outside the shop, the Clinic hosts what they call the “Sole Care” donations program. Sole Care takes unwanted shoes, restores them, and provides Birmingham’s homeless and poor residents the sneakers free of charge.
Despite the Clinic’s humble growth, they’ve managed to attract business from a few celebrities. Rapper and activist David Banner, comedian Bruce Bruce, Carolina Panthers Defensive End Mario Addison, and University of Alabama star Blake Sims are just some of the Clinic’s notable clients.
More information about the shop can be obtained by following this link.