By Shaun Tilghman
Allen Selleck has provided shoe and leather repair services in North Manchester since 1980. But, after more than 30 years in business, the owner and operator of Selleck’s Shoe Repair & Western Wear (214 E. Main St.) says if he had it all to do over again, he wouldn’t.
Selleck was working in the foundry when his father-in-law, Paul Frieden, proposed to finance purchase of the local shoe repair store from Fred Barnes. “I was a foundry guy, and the former owner that we bought out had money, and I mean money!” said Selleck.
“All he had was a shoe store and repair shop,” he continued, “and I knew I could do that. So, when my father-in-law was willing to buy the machines and get me in business, I decided to go for it. I thought I was going to come in here and make some money – like Fred Barnes did. I never expected to get rich or anything like that, but we’ve just struggled and struggled, and did without, to keep our business here.
“I got into business to be a shoe repair shop, but the world has changed big time since then. If I had it to do over again, I wouldn’t be here; I would never put my family through what we’ve been through. It’s been a struggle, it’s been a big struggle, and we’ve kept our business by doing without – we don’t go see movies and go out to eat like everybody else does. I think we own plenty, but that’s because we didn’t give the money to those big companies.”
Selleck never intended to be a retailer – he just wanted to fix shoes – but he found out long ago that he had to be in retail if he wanted to be in business. His store now carries Double H, Tony Lama, Nocona, Abilene, Rocky, Georgia, Wolverine, and LaCrosse boots, as well as Western wear, Western hats, wood carvings, artwork, footwear treatments and accessories, perfume, cologne, wallets, and much more.