Thanks to Dick Whittington, we can go back in time


There is nothing “fancy” about this place. And that’s what makes it so special.

I remember going into Leone’s Shoe Shop with my mother some 50 years ago to pick up a pair of shoes she had dropped off to be repaired. She showed her paper receipt, the shoes were taken out of the individual box, and we were on our way.

Times have changed, but not in this quaint, locally-owned shop on Line Avenue. Go in there today and you’ll be greeted by a smiling Dick Whittington, who has owned the shop since 1980 (Frank Leone started the business in 1952 and operated it for 26 years before selling it to a friend of Whittington’s family). The boxes are still lining the bookcases and you can see straight through to the back room, where shoes, purses, boots, belts – and all forms of leather goods – are repaired with the same craftmanship that made Leone’s one of Shreveport’s favorites businesses.

Fortunately, some things do remain the same.

How did owning Leone’s Shoe Repair come about?

A family friend had bought Leone’s from the original owner in 1978 and didn’t want to keep it. My dad called me and said, “You’re not going to make it without an education (I didn’t finish high school) or learning some kind of trade. This might be something you could learn and do the rest of your life.” I said, “I’ll do anything.” So my dad said, “If you’re serious, be at the house tonight at 6 o’clock with short hair and no earring.” I’ve been here since August 1980.

What’s the secret for a small, locally-owned shop staying in business so long?

Hard work, a good attitude, the best of help (Tom’s been with me since 1988) and lots of loyal customers – and new ones, too.

What would the perfect hunting trip look like?

Lord knows I’ve been on a lot of good ones. But when you ask about the perfect hunting trip, maybe in years to come I’ll be in a deer stand with my granddaughters.

You can invite any four people (alive or not) to dinner. Who would you invite?

My mom and dad and my granddaughters Avery and Aubrey.

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