You don't see too many shoe shine shops anymore. They seem to have gone the way of the pay telephone and cassette tapes. Wilbert Victor has been making folks shoes look good for close to 60 years.
"I used to live on Enterprise Boulevard next to Braxton's Barber Shop, near Pryce Drug Store," said Victor. "Mr. Braxton had a shop there for many years. I used to hang around the shop and he put me to work shining shoes."
After working at the Majestic Barber Shop for years, Vic opened his own shop here on Ryan St. near the new city courthouse. One of his regulars, Allen Singletary, has been coming here for year.
"He's a real artisan," said Singletary. "He takes pride in what he does. Sometimes I can take some time off work and come down and we can visit and get my shoes shined. Kind of let the trials and tribulations of the day go away."
Vic didn't tell me any trade secrets, but he does say you need to start with clean shoes and use the right polish. That's the lesson Braylin Jenkins got when he started coming here as a kid.
"Beyond just the stories of what he's shared over the years about how downtown has progressed and is changing, he tells stories of mayors he's come in contact with daily. people from all walks of life," said Jenkins. "They really appreciate what he does here."
"I think the world of Vic," said Singletary. "He's probably got one of the best work ethics and he's got an enormous family that he's been able to transfer that down."
"A lot of them I've done their shoes for many years, so I know them," said Victor. "They appreciate my work, so they come on a regular basis."
As for retirement, Vic says that's not anytime real soon. He's having too much fun.
Vic's shop is located at 526 Ryan St. in downtown Lake Charles. You can call him at 337-494-7929.