Best of 2000: Best Shoe Shine

Pontiac Seratto's Shoe Shine
138 Broadway, Downtown

"There's nobody within a five-mile radius who stays in business competing with me," says Pontiac Seratto, at his stand in front of a barbershop downtown, "because I give quality shoe-shining and spiritual therapy." With every pair of soles, Pontiac says, "I will treat them as if they were the only pair." And with every soul who needs it, "it's like the bartender: they tell me everything wrong: 'the kids have been bad this week.' But I just tell them to be patient." His clientele might need spiritual healing more than most: they are "judges, attorneys, the jurors, and the defendants themselves" from the two courthouses just down the street. "There are some days I could have court here," says Pontiac, who is on the job Monday through Friday from 11:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. While he devotes 15 minutes to shining each pair of shoes on average, finishing with a sealant that coats, soothes, and protects, "If you're gonna put it all in a nutshell, they come here more for the spiritual advice."

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