Walter's Boot & Shoe Repair | Northwest Arkansas Commercial Photography
6 years ago when I first started this series, Carl Walter was the first person I featured and he will forever be the toughest act to follow. I would try to sum up my experience in talking with him if I could. But you just can’t summarize a 3 hour long conversation filled with humble beginnings and war stories and everything in between, so here’s a link to go back and read it for yourself.
Fast forward to today, where Aaron and Kim Walter have taken over the shop and breathed their own life into it and you’ll find that a few things have changed. The shop now accepts credit cards, the sign that was formerly in the window now adorns the back wall (and lights up) and for the most part, things are more organized. But in other ways, the shop is still the same. The minute you walk in, you are still hit with the smell of history, authenticity and hard work. The products are neatly arranged and displayed and yet, they still seem like they’ve been there forever. Hints of the old shop still peek out from the streamlined arrangements. And as for Aaron and Kim, they seem to have picked up where Carl left off, treating every customer as family and taking a genuine interest in them and their needs.
I was excited to circle back and revisit the shop with my camera, to honor the memory of Carl Walter and to reintroduce this wonderful business neighbor to my readers and followers. So without further adieu, meet Aaron & Kim Walter of Walter’s Boot & Shoe Repair.
What is your name and your business name?
Aaron & Kim Walter of “Walter’s Boot & Shoe Repair”
Describe your business (what do you offer, sell, do, etc)
We are a full service shop. We specialize in fine footwear, luggage and soft good repair. We carry a full line of care products, leather accessories and gift items.
When, how and why did you start your business? (Or in your case, what’s the story behind how you all came to take over..your story)
Aaron was born in Salina, KS. In 1958, 6 weeks new, his parents sold their shoe repair business and relocated to Long Beach, CA where they opened The Gem Shoe Repair. Aaron’s family, his father, Clarence (Carl’s younger brother), and his mom Patti reestablished their business. Aaron & his sister grew up learning the trade. The business has been a successful business for over 60 years and is still operated today by Aaron’s Father Clarence and his sister, Diane. Aaron & I meet in High School, married in 1980 and continued to live there as we raised our three boys.
In the Spring of 2015, Aunt Dorothy slipped and injured herself and Uncle Carl fell behind in work. We decided to take a “road trip’ and arrived in Rogers, AR on the weekend of Mother’s Day, May, 2015. Kim spent time with Aunt Dorothy and Aaron worked with Uncle Carl in the shop, helping him catch up. During our stay Aunt Dorothy nudged Aaron numerous times asking, “What are we going to do when Carl can’t work any more? How will we clean out the shop?” Aaron reassured her that we would all be there for them when that time came.
The evening of Mother’s Day as we were preparing to head home, Aaron asked Uncle Carl, “Would you be willing to sell me the shop?” With a huge grin on his face, he reached over and said, “It’s yours!!” Our initial plan was to help them “move out” and sell off the equipment. We would return to CA continuing on with our lives there. But as we headed back home we began to “consider all the possibilities”.
In the span of 6 months, with the encouragement of family and friends, we moved to Rogers. October – December 2015, we dusted, organized and re-opened our Uncles shop on January 3, 2016.
What do you love about Downtown Rogers?
We love the personalities, the feel, and the vibe. . . . the folksiness and long time relationships. People come into our shop, and share their stories of growing up here in Downtown, and doing business with our Uncle Carl and Aunt Dorothy. The easy pace of downtown makes us feel at home. We feel blessed to be here and very welcomed.
Check out Walter’s Boot & Shoe Repair on Facebook for more information