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Aug 05

Saving Soles: Modern Shoe Shop & Step Above Shoe Service

Posted on August 5, 2021 at 4:36 PM by Ken Kocher

In February 1949, Cecil White moved to Madison to open Modern Shoe Rebuilders. Mr. WhiteModern Shoe Shop ad had spent the previous six years with the Davis-Paxton shop inCecil and Alvin White in front of the Modern Shoe Shop Atlanta. Prior to that he served seven years as a Vocational Instructor in the shoe repairing department of the Georgia School for the Deaf from which he had graduated. Cecil opened his shop in what is now 125 W. Washington Street. He soon changed the name to the Modern Shoe Shop and was joined in January 1950 by Rogers-Attaway Company, a variety store. Rogers-Attaway occupied the front of the building and the shoe shop the rear.

August 1951 saw the shoe shop move two doors east to the small building at 121 W. Washington Street. This would be the home of Cecil White’s Modern Shoe Shop for nearly forty years except for four years at the beginning of the 1960s. From 1960 to 1964, Mr. White plied his trade at 137 W. Washington Street before returning to his old stand. Cecil’s son Alvin purchased the building from Asbury Baldwin in 1979. Word is that he gave Cecil a pretty good deal on rent.
Cecil White was beloved by Madisonians. Jean Buchanan, relating a story about bringing one of the residents of the Hospitality Care Center Nursing Home for some shoe repair and laces, jokingly worried that her “zany behavior” may have gotten her banned from the shop. The behavior: she had plopped a kiss on Cecil's cheek when (not for the first time with a nursing home resident) he refused payment. Mrs. Otis Brewer, in her Tri-Bee column of the Madisonian, told how during the time of downtown parking meters Cecil would pop out of the shop to put a nickel or dime to add time to her meter so she would not get a ticket. Of course, he refused to be repaid. When the business closed in 1987 following Mr. White suffering a stroke, Joe Laseter spoke for many saying, “A wonderful man and a fine business sadly missed.”121 w washington 1988

However, Madison did not have to suffer worn soles for any period of time. The White family sold the shoe repair equipment to Albert Goudelock who soon opened Step Above Shoe Service in the same location. Like Cecil White, Mr. Goudelock entered the shoe repair profession as a teenager, his first job being in South Carolina. Step Above Shoe Service is the first shop of his own. Albert served the community from this location for ten years providing shoe repairing, dying, cleaning, leather and zipper repair and more. Step Above Shoe Service moved to the Madison Plaza shopping center on Eatonton Road in 1999. Mr. Goudelock has since returned to downtown saving folk’s soles from his shop beside the Variety Works event center (which once sat behind the old telephone exchange). Stop in sometime, smell the leather, and listen to the whir of machines that have been in service for more than half a century.

Step Above Shoe Service ad


Eric Joyce
August 4, 2021 at 9:59 PM
The smell of leather, the spinning of decades-old machinery----pure nostalgia! And Albert can transport you there by Variety Works. And his old building on W. Washington is a classic, mini historic building from Madison's past. Thanks for the memory tour!

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