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Pandemic pivot: Michigan man launches shoe shine shuttle bus amid COVID-19 business crunch

Shoe Shine Shuttle
Posted at 5:34 PM, Feb 03, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-04 18:03:54-05

(WXYZ)  — Elisha Smith has been in the shoe shine business for 15 years, and full-time for the past 5. The bulk of his business was driving to local offices and gyms to serve customers inside — until March 2020 hit, and everything shut down.

“I either could have caved or think outside of the box,” said Smith. “I wanted to have something that works with how we’re living our life today.”

The idea was to put his own shop on wheels. Smith said he first started looking at buses, but something else caught his eye.

“I ended up getting a shuttle, because it gave me more room, it gave me everything I need,” he said.

He went to work, transforming the vehicle into a mobile shoe shine shop.

“I wanted to give them that same feel of actually being in the shop, but it’s actually in a shuttle bus,” said Smith.

And so ‘Mr. E’s Shoe Shine Shuttle’ was born.

Smith said he is booking appointments via his website with people who are interested in getting their shoes shined; he can roll up anywhere. Smith said he is also following COVID-19 safety precautions.

His goal, he said, is to make more people fall in love with the art of the shoe shine.

"It’s a passion to transform something old and bring it back looking new," said Smith.

He added, “I really want people to really appreciate getting their shoes done again, because it’s a lost art.”