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After saving soles for 104 years, Boston Shoe and Boot Repair to close

Pete Chafos and Jerry Haas are planning to retire at the end of May.

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Pete Chafos and Jerry Haas of Boston Shoe amd Boot repair have been in the Apache Mall for 50 years. April 28, 2021.
Ken Klotzbach / Post Bulletin file photo
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ROCHESTER — After 104 years of saving Rochester’s soles, the legendary Boston Shoe and Boot Repair is ready to pack it in and close up shop.

Pete Chafos and Jerry Haas are planning to retire at the end of May. That means closing Boston Shoe and Repair, which they have operated at the Apache Mall for 50 years. However, the business dates back much further than that.

The mall location was a younger sibling of the original downtown Boston Repair shop, which first opened its doors in 1917 at 1 S. Broadway, next to where Michael's Restaurant eventually would be built.

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Pete Chafos works on a customer's shoe in his shop at Boston Shoe and Boot Repair in the Apache Mall April 28, 2021.
Ken Klotzbach / Post Bulletin file photo

Andy Chafos, Pete's father, joined forces with his business partner, Frank Mammasis, as owners of Boston Shoe Repair in 1921. The pair ran the successful shop with its 10 shoe shine chairs on the busy corner.

Pete Chafos, 77, started working in the shop as a shoeshine boy at 7-years-old or so.

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“I got pretty good at it. I was the richest kid in grade school with tips and stuff,” he said.

Jerry Haas, 79, was hired in 1960. Chafos said the pair have worked together for so long that many people think they are brothers.

When Boston closes for good, the almost 60-year-old Rochester shoe repair business that Chafos jokingly calls an “upstart” — Thee Only Shoe Repair — will be the last one standing in a city that once had 18 to 19 shoe shine and repair shops.

Thee Only Shoe Repair, owned by Jim Derouin, is located at 908 N. Broadway.

Heard Around Rochester - Jeff Kiger.png

Jeff Kiger writes a daily column, "Heard Around Rochester," in addition to writing articles about local businesses, Mayo Clinic, IBM, Hormel Foods, Crenlo and others. He has worked in Rochester for the Post Bulletin since 1999. Send tips to jkiger@postbulletin.com or via Twitter to @whereskiger . You can call him at 507-285-7798.
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