Chris Kourakos opened Chris Shoe Repair at 507 West 236th Street in 1968. His father taught him the craft, which he passed on to his son and current owner, George Kourakos. He began learning the art of cobbling during after-school hours when he was 12. Later in life, he signed up for the NYPD, but was laid off after three years in 1976 during the city’s budget crisis during then-Mayor Abraham Beame’s administration. Around the same time, his father became ill and George took over the business. Chris Kourakos passed away at the age of 66.
George Kourakos has updated the equipment he uses at the shoe repair shop, but it still holds many of the original items his father used 46 years ago. When asked if he felt his father’s presence in the location, he simply pointed to a black-and-white photo of the man hanging near the counter.