MOUNT PROSPECT, Ill. (WLS) -- Al's Shoe Repair in Mount Prospect has been in business for more than eight decades, but the pandemic almost forced it to shut down until customers and strangers stepped in to help.
The heart of the Mount Prospect community can be found through one soul in the heart of downtown - the soul of a shoe repair shop.
"I am carrying on the legacy that my father laid down for me," owner Larry DeAngelo said.
The shop was originally founded in Franklin Park and made its way to Mount Prospect, its home for the last 17 years. But during the pandemic, the shop almost shut down for good.
"Well, my business basically died, the shoe repair business," DeAngelo said.
That's until Larry's daughters started selling necklaces and bracelets of faith. Social media helped the family sell them all across the country, giving DeAngelo the help he needed to keep his shop open.
He built such a strong connection with the community over the years that the city helped out to make sure Al's Shoe Repair didn't leave town. On Tuesday, DeAngelo hosted the grand reopening of his new shop at the Mount Prospect train station.
"I don't know what we'd do without you man," Mount Prospect Mayor Paul Hoefert said.
"It's what I've put forth, it's from the heart, you understand," DeAngelo said. "It's not superficial, it's something very deep and people can relate to that."
That authenticity comes in many different forms.
"When you come into Larry's shop, you never know what you're going to get," Hoefert said.
While a business can change locations and the people around it can change, some things remain the same. Larry's shop still has the same machinery his father used to fix shoes over 80 years ago.
Now, the next chapter of Al's Shoe Repair begins as he carries on that family legacy.
"I've healed a lot of souls baby," DeAngelo said.
Al's Shoe Repair opens at Mount Prospect train station after pandemic nearly forced it to close