When I walked into Man Mur Shoe Shop for my quick interview with the manager, I asked for Ronnie, just as I had been instructed. The man who was crouched on the floor, assisting a fifty-something women with a pair of Sanita clogs in the colors of her alma mater, said to me: “Ronnie ran out the back a few minutes ago. He said he was headed to the liquor store because some photographer lady was coming by to take pictures for her blog.”
I fell for it, guys. As I was making myself comfortable and perusing the store for my next pair of shoes, that same man came over and introduced himself as Ronnie. Sigh. You know gullible isn’t in the dictionary, right?
Over the course of the next hour, I hung out at Man Mur and watched Ronnie interact with his customers, mostly selling them new shoes. I wanted to make sure he could care for them first, so each time someone walked in, I assured him that I didn’t mind waiting. There were two best friends from out of town shopping for a pair of wedding shoes who had me laughing so hard, I wanted to follow them to their next errand. On the other side of the store, Ronnie’s cousin, Steve, assisted people dropped off shoes that needed to be shined, dress shoes needing new heels, and work boots needing new soles. What’s Man Mur all about?
Man Mur offers repair service, various casual dress mid-range shoes, and the best customer service — you’ll get waited on quickly and treated with respect.
Steven and Ronnie bought the shoe shop from a previous owner in 1982. At the end of that day, there was $6.00 in the cash register and they were….concerned. They quickly opened the retail portion of the store, after a small expansion and business began thriving.
Their shoes range from $80-$140. But Ronnie explains, “Much like mattresses or tires, you get what you pay for. When you buy a shoe, you undergird your entire body.” People bring back Birkenstocks for resoling regularly — some purchased as early as the 1980s. Once you factor in the weekly or yearly cost, it’s a bargain! They also carry brands from many countries including Poland, Germany, Hawaii. If it’s not got a bit of leather and is designed to be thrown away, it’s not at his store!
Ronnie goes for a Cracker Barrel feel with a social media presence. Man Mur is on Facebook and they announce their specials there! After all, Ronnie is reminded of the importance of social media daily as he watches the NC State student population poke at their cell phones while walking to class.
On the day I visited, they had 8 boxes of shoes to repair. Ideally, the they would hire another person to repair shoes. However, it’s such a specialized task that it made more sense to hire someone to help make calls and help customers. Here are a few shots of the repair area. It’s “well-used,” but has an almost historic feel. Skilled labor at it’s finest.
Ronnie and Steven are running an amazing store, guys. I felt like family the entire time I was in the store and it’s clear that they really care about each other, their store, and their customers. Check them out the next time you need a new pair of shoes or repair!
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