Owner of Detroit shoe repair store continues father’s, grandfather’s legacy

House of Morrisons Shoe Repair has been on Detroit's west side for more than 60 years

How popular Metro Detroit shoe repair shop was started

DETROIT – Rhonda Morrison is an expert in the art of shoe repair. She’s been at House of Morrisons Shoe Repair, located on Livernois Avenue, near Seven Mile Road, for 37 years.

She’s been around the trade longer than that if you count all the time she spent watching her father, a shoe-shiner turned cobbler who started House of Morrisons Shoe Repair in 1954.

“I didn’t feel like my life would be alright if I just shut down my father’s business that he raised an entire family off of. I have four sisters and one brother and I’m the youngest,” Morrison said. “We have all worked in daddy’s shop. It just so happened that I was the one who was here when daddy retired. It was just a passion to be with my father and then it was a passion to make sure that his legacy did not go in vain.”

Her father’s legacy began with his father, who took a big chance to invest in his son’s dream of working for himself in order to rule his own destiny.

“My granddaddy cashed out his life insurance policy to give him the money to buy this building,” Morrison said.

That was in 1971. Morrison’s father made sure she understood all the tricks of the trade. She can clean, dye, fix rips, remove scratches, repair heels and just about anything else you can think of -- even special requests.

Being a skilled cobbler isn’t the only reason her business has survived all these years. She said her passion for her craft and her passion for helping the next generation is what helped her persevere -- a lesson she learned from her father.

“What ever I do in here it either has to benefit everybody around me or I don’t want to do it,” Morrison said. “I don’t want to do it. I’m a true believer that if you do things to benefit other people, how can you be left out?”

When she retires, an apprentice -- a friend of the family she’s known for more than two decades -- will carry on the business.

She said she’s looking forward to starting some training and letting some other people have a shoe shop in town.

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About the Authors:

You can watch Kimberly Gill weekdays anchoring Local 4 News at 5 p.m., 6 p.m. and 11 p.m. and streaming live at 10 p.m. on Local 4+. She's an award-winning journalist who finally called Detroit home in 2014. Kim has won Regional Emmy Awards, and was part of the team that won the National Edward R. Murrow Award for Best Newscast in 2022.

Dane is a producer and media enthusiast. He previously worked freelance video production and writing jobs in Michigan, Georgia and Massachusetts. Dane graduated from the Specs Howard School of Media Arts.