We found ourselves shopping in downtown Sapulpa the other day. A friendly shoe shiner caught my attention. Did you know Sapulpa has its own shoe shiner? We sure didn’t. He was busy shining a pair of black dress shoes while walking around visiting with customers. I wondered about his story, because we all have one.
Fortunately for us he agreed to an interview. Mr. Alfred Bogans is the proud owner of “Steppers Shine Shoe Cleaning.” He has been keeping Sapulpa’s shoes shiny and clean for the past eight years.
Al, as he is known by his customers, was born and raised in Waco, Texas. He remembers how important it was for his granddad to have shined shoes…in the 50’s “people took pride in their appearance.” He worked in a hotel shining shoes during some of his high school years.
He soon found himself drafted and ended up in Vietnam. He was stationed in Germany for a bit and returned home and soon joined the Reserves, where he served until he was sixty years of age. One thing he recalls from his time in the service is the drill sergeant and…the mandatory rule of clean, shiny boots.
He moved to Sapulpa in 1977 when he and his wife were wed. He said, “She drug me here by my ear” with a twinkle in his eye. And here is where they raised their family.
Al worked with delinquent youth for the state of Oklahoma for 27 years as well as a few other jobs to support his family and keep busy.
When it was time to “retire” Al reflected on his life and landed on shining shoes. Talk about coming full circle.
Customers can choose to have a turn on the shoe stand that was crafted by a local veteran or drop items off to pick up later. I have to say my husband’s cowboy boots we brought along for our visit have never looked better.
Al cleans and conditions leather items and his prices are fair and reasonable. He charges $6 to shine dress shoes, $8 for cowboy boots, $45 for a leather handbag or purse, depending on size and about $65 for a saddle. He has even been known to polish silverware.
He can be found right inside “Little Bit of Country” at 124 E. Dewey in Sapulpa. He typically works Tuesdays, Wednesday and Thursdays. Please feel free to step inside and visit “Steppers Shine Shoe Cleaning.”