In the low-slung, pinkish Dominion Hills Centre shopping strip, sandwiched between a pharmacy and a soccer store, passers-by can find a store offering an unlikely pairing.
It’s a shoe repair place and a skate shop called Kiko’s Professional Services (6021 Wilson Blvd).
The place is run by Alvaro Pessotti, who immigrated to Arlington from Brazil in the 1980s. He started shining shoes out of a hotel in 1989, offering overnight services for customers. Then, Pessotti began shining shoes at conventions, in food courts and in Reagan National Airport.
“I provided shining to members of the House of Representatives for nine years,” he said. “That was a great opportunity, you know, it opened a lot of doors. I was right in the corridor to get to the White House. I have a lot of business here with the government.”
He has worked in D.C. and in Arlington since he moved to Crystal City in 1983. The longtime Arlingtonian said he has only moved once since then — to Cherrydale, where he has lived in the same house since 1986.
With people working from home, not traveling for their jobs and preferring casual wear, Pessotti says the pandemic has been bad for lots of shoe repair businesses, and he has watched some businesses close for good. A few places have closed in Arlington over the last year, coronavirus-related and not: On Lee Highway, COVID-19 sped up the closure of decades-old shoe repair shop Sam Torrey Shoe Service, and in January 2020 a dry cleaner in Clarendon that offered shoe repairs also announced it would be closing.
Pessotti says there are a few reasons he stays afloat.
“I like what I do,” he said. “I think that is what makes the difference. Plus, the volume is not big right now, and I can turn things around quickly.”
The other reason was a business idea his son came up with soon after Pessotti opened Kiko’s in 2000: selling skateboard supplies. The store started offering skateboarding gear when the Powhatan Springs Skatepark opened across the street (6020 Wilson Blvd) in 2004. The park reopened in 2019 after a complete overhaul.
“He came to me saying, ‘Why don’t we get into this business?’ I tell you it was a great idea,” he said.
Still, business could be better.
“If I was just in shoe repair, I should be closed by now. But even with skateboard, business, it’s much lower than it used to be,” he said.
Pessotti said he hopes that after Labor Day people will return from summer vacations and needing shine and repair services for their work shoes. At the airport, he said there is little business travel to keep shoe shine going.
“It’s interesting — it’s a lot of people traveling, but it’s no business, all casual shoes,” he said.
Locals on social media have lauded Pessotti’s ability to rehabilitate everything from leather handbags to sandals, and encouraged others to take their shoes there.
“He saved a pair of Tory Burch wedges I was about to throw out!” one poster said.
Tour Country Club Hills to discover its lush herbage, mature trees, and the Victorian and frame houses of the area in Neighborhood Spotlight.
A soggy weekend is on tap after an otherwise pretty nice final week of September. Obviously this week’s big story was the devastation in Florida, the huge scale of which…
Share your input on the Arlington Forestry and Natural Resources Plan by October 3.
A proposed bridge for bicyclists and pedestrians between Crystal City and the Southwest Waterfront area of D.C. has received $20 million in federal funding to move forward. When complete, the…
9th Street Chamber Music is back in business for its second season! 9SCM is disrupting the stereotypes of classical music as stuffy, dry, and elite through dynamic yet accessible performances and its one-of-a-kind String Quartet Intensive for young musicians in the DC Metro area.[9th Street Quartet](https://www.9thstreetchambermusic.com/9th-street- quartet)’s first concert is on Sunday, October 16 at 4:00 PM. The group will offer, for the first time, a ‘Playlist Shuffle’ themed concert featuring single movements of string quartet favorites. Tickets for this concert can be found here, and are $20 for adults and FREE for all students under 18.
Rehearsals began Monday, September 27 for the String Quartet Intensive, welcoming 32 new and returning members to the program. These talented musicians in grades 7 through 12 represent over fifteen area schools throughout Northern Virginia, DC and Maryland, and are an integral part of the growing 9SCM community. Their first performance will take place on Monday, November 28 at 7:30 PM.
Now you can have fun with your family and friends when deciding where to eat!
Just hop aboard The Lunch Train and set the destination for: breakfast, brunch, lunch, dinner, or nightlife!
– No app necessary. Simply go to the website if you’d like!
– No account necessary
– Use your current location or a desired location
– Add restaurants you’re interested in, invite your friends, and play the game!
Join us as we explore Vini Franchetti & their two sister vineyards Passopisciaro (Sicily) and Vini Franchetti (Tuscany) for our Sicily/Tuscany Wine Dinner!
Sunday, Oct 9 @ 6pm
Special Guest: This wine dinner we will be hosting the wine maker