In the low-slung, pinkish Dominion Hills Centre buying strip, sandwiched betwixt a pharmacy and a shot store, passers-by tin find a store offering an improbable pairing.
It’s a footwear repair spot and a skate store called Kiko’s Professional Services (6021 Wilson Blvd).
The spot is tally by Alvaro Pessotti, who immigrated to Arlington from Brazil successful the 1980s. He started shining shoes retired of a edifice successful 1989, offering overnight services for customers. Then, Pessotti began shining shoes astatine conventions, successful nutrient courts and successful Reagan National Airport.
“I provided shining to members of the House of Representatives for 9 years,” helium said. “That was a large opportunity, you know, it opened a batch of doors. I was close successful the corridor to get to the White House. I person a batch of concern present with the government.”
He has worked successful D.C. and successful Arlington since helium moved to Crystal City successful 1983. The longtime Arlingtonian said helium has lone moved erstwhile since past — to Cherrydale, wherever helium has lived successful the aforesaid location since 1986.
With radical moving from home, not traveling for their jobs and preferring casual wear, Pessotti says the pandemic has been atrocious for tons of footwear repair businesses, and helium has watched immoderate businesses adjacent for good. A fewer places person closed successful Arlington implicit the past year, coronavirus-related and not: On Lee Highway, COVID-19 sped up the closure of decades-old footwear repair store Sam Torrey Shoe Service, and successful January 2020 a adust cleaner successful Clarendon that offered footwear repairs besides announced it would beryllium closing.
Pessotti says determination are a fewer reasons helium stays afloat.
“I similar what I do,” helium said. “I deliberation that is what makes the difference. Plus, the measurement is not large close now, and I tin crook things astir quickly.”
The different crushed was a concern thought his lad came up with soon aft Pessotti opened Kiko’s successful 2000: selling skateboard supplies. The store started offering skateboarding cogwheel erstwhile the Powhatan Springs Skatepark opened crossed the thoroughfare (6020 Wilson Blvd) successful 2004. The parkland reopened successful 2019 aft a implicit overhaul.
“He came to maine saying, ‘Why don’t we get into this business?’ I archer you it was a large idea,” helium said.
Still, concern could beryllium better.
“If I was conscionable successful footwear repair, I should beryllium closed by now. But adjacent with skateboard, business, it’s overmuch little than it utilized to be,” helium said.
Pessotti said helium hopes that aft Labor Day radical volition instrumentality from summertime vacations and needing radiance and repair services for their enactment shoes. At the airport, helium said determination is small concern question to support footwear radiance going.
“It’s absorbing — it’s a batch of radical traveling, but it’s nary business, each casual shoes,” helium said.
Locals connected social media person lauded Pessotti’s quality to rehabilitate everything from leather handbags to sandals, and encouraged others to instrumentality their shoes there.
“He saved a brace of Tory Burch wedges I was astir to propulsion out!” 1 poster said.