Bring Back the Shine

They’re putting their best foot forward at Corpus Christi International Airport with new – yet delightfully old-school – shoeshine services from Mr. Carl Walker.

By: Kim Bridger-Hunt

Have you ever noticed the variety of ways people dress when they travel by air? Gone are the days when everyone dressed up, regardless of the reason for travel. Spring breakers wear their spring break best. Vacationers don beach hats and, yes, even flip-flops. In airports everywhere, we see everything from workout clothes to business casual – from shorts and dresses to suits and cowboy boots. You name it – we see it at Corpus Christi International Airport (CCIA).

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Why not bring back a little shine? A Corpus Christi resident has decided to do just that by offering shoeshine services inside the CCIA terminal. We’re talking about the kind of one-on-one service we used to see at barbershops and along the streets in downtown Corpus Christi. It’s an old-school practice that has slowly slipped away from us not because we didn’t like it, but because people change. Styles change. If you’re wearing Crocs, you don’t need a shoeshine. If you’re wearing blingy sandals, there’s not much need for a traditional shining of your shoes. But plenty of men and women still wear dress shoes, loafers and leather boots – and it’s those folks who are in for a treat.

By the time this article is published, Mr. Carl Walker, a longtime Corpus Christi resident, will have set up shop inside the CCIA terminal. He built his shoeshine stand from scratch, exactly the way he wanted it, and plans to offer all the traditional services you might expect at very reasonable costs. Walker will be set up on the first floor of the terminal between the United and Southwest ticket counters.

When visitors arrive at the airport, Walker will be hard to miss. His charm and soft-spoken manner make it a joy to talk to him. Walker loves people. He loves to talk about the good old days and about the ways the world has changed. But most of all, he really loves to shine shoes and has been doing it, off and on, since he was a young man and a shine cost 25 cents.

Travelers spend more time in airports than ever before. Security requirements force people to arrive early and to be inside the terminal longer than ever. So it makes sense to offer services that make the waiting a little less wasteful. Nowadays, we can conduct business on laptops and smartphones. So why not enjoy a shoeshine while you wait and work at the airport?

Watchamacaller’s Place will be open for business Monday through Friday during the early morning and early afternoon hours. Even if you don’t need a shoeshine, stop by and say hello to Walker. You’ll be glad you did.

Kim Bridger-Hunt is the marketing manager at CCIA. For more information, you may contact her at kimb@cctexas.com.

Photos courtesy of CCIA

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