Earlier than the pandemic, the devoted daughter, 37, was planning a becoming tribute to her dad, Minas, an immigrant from Greece, who turned internationally identified after September 11 when his store was destroyed within the World Commerce Heart. His story was instructed in numerous articles now plastered on the partitions of the relocated enterprise at 63 Wall Road.
She had hoped to have fun with some hoopla and particular promotions, like a shoe shine for 75 cents — the fee in 1970.
As an alternative, Polychronakis quietly opened the doorways on June 15 regardless of the Monetary District’s empty streets and workplace towers.
There are not any shoe shiners on obligation but, as a result of “nobody is dressed up” and too few individuals are again of their places of work, she mentioned.
However seeing her previous clients has been one of many brightest spots of her new day.
Bianca Alexis has been a patron for 10 years, having first befriended Minas, with whom she mentioned cooking and politics.
“It’s superior to see them open once more,” Alexis mentioned, including that she introduced in a pair of white sneakers that wanted to be repainted.
Then there’s the French physician, a buyer for 15 years, who got here in with 14 pairs of sneakers within the first days after the store reopened.
“In all of the years she has been coming in, I’ve by no means seen her usher in the identical pair of sneakers twice,” Polychronakis mentioned.
Nonetheless, occasions are robust: Income is down, she estimates, by 90 % from a 12 months in the past, and summer time is already the gradual season for shoe restore.
She has utilized for a $40,000 PPP mortgage to convey again her 5 workers for full-time work and to assist with payments.
The frenetic tempo Polychronakis was used to — six-day work weeks, some nights spent working till three a.m. — has been rolled again to 5 days per week, 10 a.m. to five p.m., for now.
The hardest resolution she has needed to make was closing a second store, Omega Restore, situated a block away, on June 30.
She mentioned there’s one upside to that: “I retired my mom, who’s 65 [and managed Omega]. I would like her to have the ability to relax.”
Trying round Minas, Polychronakis wonders concerning the unclaimed sneakers — greater than 100 pairs — on her cabinets and whether or not any of them belong to clients who’ve handed away from the virus or have misplaced their jobs “and aren’t desirous about their sneakers and luggage.”
In the course of the three months the shop was closed, simply 10 clients referred to as to select up the sneakers they’d left on the store in March.
However there are encouraging indicators. Some clients mailed in sneakers for repairs throughout the lockdown, one other introduced in a small piece of leather-based furnishings to be stitched up, and the locals who want her actually need her. She talked about a lawyer whose workplace reopened close by, and he stopped in to get his sneakers resoled.
“I’m nonetheless making an attempt to be optimistic and affected person,” Polychronakis mentioned. “I can hear my father’s voice in my head telling me to maintain religion.”