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Downtown shoe repair institution has closed

Wed., Dec. 12, 2012

Key workers’ deaths lead to Saad’s demise

Two untimely deaths have closed the doors of one of Spokane’s longest-enduring downtown businesses.

Saad’s Shoe Repair shut down its store at 215 N. Wall St. at the end of November, said Larry Alfano, owner of the business.

Employee Bill Ogle Jr. had worked at Saad’s for 28 years before he died in September. Employee Ruth Carter, a 58-year employee, died in November.

Their deaths left Alfano with little choice, he said. “You can’t run a business when you lost two people who knew how to do everything.”

Alfano bought the Saad’s business from previous owner Jack Saad in 1986.

The downtown Saad’s opened in 1906, nearby to what was then Spokane’s City Hall, and had remained in operation since.

Alfano has moved unclaimed shoes from the downtown location to his still-operating NorthTown Mall store.

The downtown location is leased from the Jack D. Saad Family Trust. Alfano said he has three years remaining on the lease. Spokane’s Kiemle & Hagood represents the landlord.

After buying the business from the Saad family, Alfano ran four locations, including repair shops at Shadle Park Shopping Center and at University City in Spokane Valley.

Those closed over time. “People don’t spend as much effort on repairs as we move more toward a throwaway society,” he said.

Several other Spokane shoe repair businesses are still operating, including Goodyear Shoe Repair, Cruz Custom Boots and Ressa’s Shoe Service.

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