ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — Charles Street Shoe Repair has been open for more than 100 years, but the coronavirus pandemic could force the owners to close it for good.
But, the community says it won’t let it go down without a fight.
The “open” sign is dim at Catherine Antinucci’s shop, at 2233 Charles St. The small family business was deemed “non-essential” during the COVID-19 outbreak and was forced to shut down.
Antinucci called the news “devastating.”
“I was afraid, money-wise,” she said. “How am I going to pay for anything? Am I going to lose the house?”
Antinucci and her son, Jeff, are the only two employees on the payroll. But without customers, “pay” is non-existent, and Jeff says he’s having a hard time getting financial help.
“Just didn’t seem like anyone really cared about our existence,” he said.
They took their story to Facebook and were able to raise thousands of dollars in one day with a GoFundMe.
“There are a lot of wonderful people here in Rockford. There really is,” Antinucci said.
She’s calling the donations a ‘light at the end of the tunnel’, and hopes they’ll be able to continue putting their heart and “sole” into the century-old family business.
“The shoes are fading away, but we are still vital,” she said.
The store asked only for $2,500 but raised $9,700 so far.
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