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Baltimore ‘Shoe Man’ Set To Retire

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Malcolm Spaulding
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BALTIMORE (WJZ) — He’s been repairing shoes in the city for nearly four decades and over the years, he’s helped thousands of customers.

Ron Matz has more on an amazing man and the end of an era in West Baltimore.

Inside this small store–with a hand-painted sign on the wall–there’s a master at work.

Malcolm Spaulding is an expert shoe repairman. But on Friday, he’ll close up shop after 37 years.

“I’m getting ready to finish working. I’m just tired and it’s time to stop. I love it but it’s time to give it up,” Spaulding said. “I like to fix shoes. I know what’s going on and I just like to do the work. I run the machinery and I like everything about the shoe business.”

He’s 66 now and has seen a lot of Baltimore.

“I came to Baltimore from Jamaica. I was on Pratt Street, Eutaw Street, Fayette Street. I was all over Baltimore and I got to be known and that’s why I’ve been around 30 to 40 years,” Spaulding said.

His father taught him the shoe trade in Jamaica. He loves Bob Marley and his family. His work is all hands-on. He’s a craftsman from the old school who’s fixed thousands of shoes.

“I plan to visit my family in Jamaica. I have been away from them for a long time and then I’ll take it easy with the family I have here in Baltimore,” he said.

And his customers love him.

“My dad means a lot to his customers. He really loves what he does. For 37 years, he’s put his heart and soul into it. The customers keep coming back,” said his daughter, Karen Spaulding. “He’s going to be deeply missed. He’s thought about retiring over and over and finally, this is it. I guess it’s time for him to move on.”

It’s the end of an era for the king of the cobblers.

He says any unclaimed shoes will be donated to charity. The neighborhood plans a celebration for him in April.

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