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Longtime Main Street businesses welcoming new owners, keeping tradition alive

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Don Curtis took over the long time downtown Mitchell business, Charlie's Shoe Repair on October 1st. (Matt Gade / Republic)

Occupying the corner of Second Avenue and Main Street for over four decades, Charlie’s Shoe Repair isn’t going anywhere.

Local auctioneer Don Curtis and his wife Valerie purchased the business in October, and the two have already hit the ground running learning the ropes of operating a Main Street staple. What better mentor to learn from than the former owner who built the business from the ground up over 40 years ago?

“This was a good move for my wife and I because the auction season slows down at times,” Curtis said. “It was a golden opportunity for taking over a legacy business that’s been in Mitchell for 44 years.”

Charlie Bailey, former owner of Charlie’s Shoe Repair, still spends his mornings and afternoons in the chair he’s repaired thousands of shoes over the years. Bailey sold the business to the Curtis with an agreement to work alongside the couple in the early half of the days of operation. Curtis said it’s been a blessing having the man who started it all help the transition to a new business venture.

“He knows the trade better than anyone. Our goal is to learn as much as we possibly can from him over the years,” Curtis said. “He’s still here every day, and I can’t get started in a business that I know little about. He shows us the ropes.”

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Having been a successful local business on Main Street for over four decades, Curtis said he doesn’t want to come in and fix what it isn’t broken. Therefore, the same down-home atmosphere Mitchell residents have grown accustomed to at Charlie’s Shoe Repair is well in tact.

To Curtis’ knowledge, Bailey was the lone shoe cobbler operating out of a storefront in the Mitchell area. With the volume of customers Curtis has welcomed from the surrounding area, he said it’s evident shoe cobbler work is unique to the area.

“We’re not changing the name, in fact, we’re not changing anything it all,” Curtis said. “It’s not just a necessity for the city of Mitchell, as we have people bringing their shoes and boots from Platte, Geddes, Yankton and other surrounding towns.”

Just several blocks north of Charlie’s Shoe Repair sits another Main Street staple that recently welcomed new owners. Despite the lack of bakery experience, Mitchell natives Rob and Allison Nicholson purchased Daylight Donuts in late October.

“Buying an established business and running a local business was something I’ve wanted to do,” Rob said. “It’s been fun learning how to bake the wide variety of doughnuts, and we’re getting better everyday.”

Thanks to the previous owners Marcia and Steve Herrgott helping the Nicholson couple learn the ropes of the doughnut baking process, Rob said they are starting to feel more comfortable every early morning they begin stocking the shelves with doughnuts and rolls.

Established nearly 30 years ago at 900 N. Main St., Rob said he is proud to continue a strong business legacy that locals have supported for three decades.

Rob, 30, and his wife Allison, 26, know there are challenges that come with owning a business. Changing sleep patterns to wake up in the night and begin baking for the morning is just one challenge the young couple has been adapting to. Challenges aside, the Nicholson couple is determined to maintain a popular local doughnut shop for the long haul.

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“We’re proud to help keep a local business Main Street. It’s been great getting to learn from Marcia and Steve, but we’re keeping that tradition of great service and great donuts alive,” Rob said.

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Don Curtis took over the long time downtown Mitchell business, Charlie's Shoe Repair on October 1st. (Matt Gade / Republic)

Related Topics: LOCAL BUSINESSBAKING
Sam Fosness joined the Mitchell Republic in May 2018. He was raised in Mitchell, S.D., and graduated from Mitchell High School. He continued his education at the University of South Dakota in Vermillion, where he graduated in 2020 with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and a minor in English. During his time in college, Fosness worked as a news and sports reporter for The Volante newspaper.
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