BROOKLINE, MA — They awash aggregate from Clogs, to UGGS and cast flops. They awash the brace of sandals for association on a aboriginal cruise, aboriginal clogs, the ablaze red ones. If you’ve lived in Brookline for any time, you apperceive Downtown Shooz on Harvard Street aing to the Coolidge Corner Clubhouse and JP Licks. You additionally may bethink it was already alleged Mel’s Capital Shoes. And had iterations in Brighton afore landing in Coolidge Corner.
And you apparently apperceive Mel. A bequest from a ancient era of salesmen. This was the man who would address on an basis agenda capacity he abstruse about you while you chatted with him over that brace of Frye boots you were considering.
After added than 45 years in the business in assorted forms, Downtown Shooz, has now closed.
Although for the accomplished two decades the boutique has been endemic by Andy Natasi. Melvin Kravitz, who awash the boutique to Natasi, was still the face of all things Shooz.
The 87 year old formed there six canicule a week, active his car bottomward to the gas base in Belmont, bushing it up to drive the scattering of afar to Brookline, esplanade in an alleyway and clump about to accessible up the store.
“That’s been his life; It’s shoes. He’s been there for at atomic 45 years,” said his babe Rhonda Kravitz McGee. “That’s been his world, his identity. It’s activity to be a actual sad day back it closes up.”
Bodies adulation Kravitz. He’s the aftermost of the old acceptable sales being that engages with customers, chats with them, finds out area they are traveling from and to. He’ll advance bodies to accommodated up with and he’ll abeyance to accomplish best accompany with your toddler.
“People aloof admire him;” and he adores people, said McGee. And she should know. Nearly every night she’d get a buzz alarm from the abundance while her dad was alive with him absent to put a chump on the band to babble with her about article they accept in common.
According to those accustomed with the closing, the freeholder aloft the hire and that was a above acumen the store’s buyer absitively to aing up shop.
“The hire is aerial and bodies don’t buy the way they acclimated to,” said McGee.
It’s the aforementioned adventure for a cardinal of businesses in Coolidge Corner. And online big box retailers like Amazon and Walmart don’t help. It’s accessible to abscond in and get abstinent by addition in person, but again about-face about and go online to buy it cheaper.
“The accomplished affair is aloof affectionate of killing him, you can apprehend it in his articulation back he picks up the phone. But he is still hopeful. If you apperceive anyone hiring a little old gray haired man, he’s not accessible to retire,” said McGee.
McGee said she has never accepted her ancestor to booty a vacation. “For him it’s a adamantine us to swallow. He wants to work. He’s not accessible to retire… He doesn’t appetite to abdicate … He doesn’t see himself as an old man.”
Kravitz does accumulate active as a “little brother” to the elderly, carrying commons to earlier bodies about the holidays, but it’s the shoe business and the alternation with bodies about shoes that he loves.
“It’s sad to see. He would accept gone on until he physically couldn’t any more,” she said. “You’ll never acquisition anyone who loves alive added than him.”
She said it’s what’s kept him adolescent at heart, accepting to apperceive bodies over a alternative of shoes. He’s fabricated some cameos in bounded movies: Boston Casting has appear in to buy shoes, he was in a antipodal commercial, supplied boxes of old shoes for a arena in “Good Will Hunting,” and has a adventure about Katie Couric advancing in for a brace of converse.
Kravitz was one of three sons of Westborough citizenry Abe and Lillian Kravitz. He grew up in Worcester. After admission aerial academy in 1949, he aing the Navy Reserve, spent two weeks training in the summer off the East Coast. In 1953 on Kenberma Street in Nantasket, he met his wife, Loretta, a Dorer native. The two accept been affiliated for 64 years.
The Kravitzes acclimatized in Somerville, and again Belmont, area they still live. They aloft three daughters in the town. His parents lived to 106 and 104.
Photos by Jenna Fisher/Patch Staff
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