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Milwaukee's Daily Magazine for Wednesday, April 23, 2014

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In Marketplace

A guide to Milwaukee shoe shiners




Note: The contents of this guide were checked for accuracy when this article was updated on March 10, 2004 at 5:43 a.m. We continually update the thousands of articles on OnMilwaukee.com, but it's possible some details, specials and offers may have changed. As always, we recommend you call first if you have specific questions for the businesses mentioned in the guide.


A shoeshine is more than the mere process of cleaning and polishing your footwear. The art of the shoeshine is, for many, a ritual where you pause to catch a breath, survey the world passing by, and enjoy the luxury of doing something for yourself and your favorite pair of kicks.

You've probably bought a self-shine kit or buffed your boots at one of those shoeshine machines in the hotel restroom, but neither come close to the real deal. If you want a real shine, you must know where to go and who to trust.

Andre Lee of Royal Shoe Shine has been buffing boots and shoes in the Milwaukee area since the early 1980s. He's currently perched outside Janice's Hair Salon and Celia inside the lower level of the Pfister Hotel. He's a lifelong Milwaukeean and a Hamilton grad and says business is "great" and that his shines are "the best."

Like every good shine, Lee's come with stories. Life, sports, ladies and love are typical topics of conversation as you sit on the stand. His cousin Ramone sets up his shine shop at Mayfair Mall. You've probably seen him, they call him the captain and he's always cranking oldies, singing and dancing. But, as Andre told us, "he could stand to keep the singing at home."

Whether you need your shoes shined downtown, uptown or in the 'burbs, there are plenty of quality options in Milwaukeeland. A new Royal Shine shop just opened at Mitchell International Airport, next to the book store, this month too.

What should you pay for a shine? Lee charges $7 for shoes and $8 for boots at The Pfister and both charges should be supplemented with a $1-5 tip. So, $10 is a decent price to shine your grimy shoes. Not a bad deal, since many still judge you by the shoes you keep.

How often should you get your shoes shined? Lee tells us "in winter weather like this, maybe twice per week, but my shines last three weeks to a month" in good weather. Twice per month is a bit ambitious for us, but should you need a shine today here's our list of area stands.

Please know that hours and exact locations within buildings do vary. Please use the talkback feature to add your shine shop of choice.

Brown's Shoe Shine Parlor
423 W. Center St., (414) 263-9908

Holland Shoe Shine Parlor
329 W. North Ave., (414) 263-9906

Mug & Brush
411 E. Wisconsin Ave., (414) 223-1090

Royal Shoe Shine -- Mayfair Mall
2500 N. Mayfair Rd., (414) 258-7069

Scrugg & Sons Shoe Repair
3570 N. Teutonia Ave., (414) 447-9236

Pfister Hotel
424 E. Wisconsin Ave., (800) 558-8222 or (414) 273-8222

Mitchell International Airport
5300 S. Howell Ave., (414) - 747 - 5300

Henry S. Reuss Federal Plaza
310 W. Wisconsin Ave.

U.S. Bank Building
777 E. Wisconsin Ave.

Johnnie Walker's (only at certain times of the year, call ahead)
234 W. Wisconsin Ave., (414) 271-7746

Milwaukee County Courthouse
901 N. 9th St.

Galleria Shoe Shine
100 E. Wisconsin Ave., 2nd fl. mezzanine

Bayshore Mall
5900 N. Port Washington Rd.

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