Killeen boot, shoe repair shop closing after decades downtown

Published: Feb. 23, 2022 at 2:20 PM CST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

KILLEEN, Texas (KWTX) - After decades in downtown Killeen, a boot-and-shoe repair shop is giving itself the boot, literally.

The owner of Tharpe’s Boot & Shoe Repair in Killeen said the business is no longer like it was and the family has made the tough decision to let go. The family matriarch, Fay Tharpe, was integral to its management.

“She believed in hugging, because, she goes, ‘that heals everybody. That’s what our business is heal and sole,’” said Monika Tharpe, current owner and daughter of Fay Tharpe.

It was Fay Tharpe who started work at Tharpe’s after coming to the area in the ‘40s.

“She was one of the first shoe-repair ladies here,” said Monika Tharpe.

Along with helping run the business, Fay Tharpe also taught her sons and husband the trade.

The boys would later go on to run their own stores in Georgetown and Lampasas.

“They were just amazed about how a woman could do something like that,” said Monika Tharpe.

But after handing it down to Monika Tharpe, there is no one left to fill her shoes.

On top of that, she said, they have been turning a lot of customers away in recent years because of how different shoes are made. A lot of companies now use cardboard, cork or rubber, which makes shoes nearly impossible to fix.

“And it makes it harder too, because we have to break the people’s heart after they spent like a $149 to $400 on these boots,” said Monika Tharpe.

Now inside the store there is a price tag on everything. Some of the shelves are empty and most of the backroom tools moved to the front.

Some of the equipment dating back to the mid-30s, was still being used until a couple of weeks ago. All of it, including the building, intended to be sold before the end of March.

So, for the first time in her adult life, Monika Tharpe says she is taking a break.

“And that’s scary, because I don’t know what I’m going to do with myself,” said Monika Tharpe.

Copyright 2022 KWTX. All rights reserved.