BY SANDI P. BEASON
UPELO - Not only does "Doc" Cousin make house calls, you can also find the shoe shine doctor in residency at the hospital.
Darell "Doc" Cousin said merging his business, The Shoe Shine Doctor, with Tupelo Shoe Hospital was a logical move for both companies.
"This is a one-stop shop," he said. "You can get a shine and a repair at the same time."
Cousin first came to Tupelo in June 2000, and operated his business on North Spring Street. That building caught fire, and he moved to a storefront on South Broadway. He merged with Tupelo Shoe Hospital a week ago.
Since coming to Tupelo, he's seen his business grow. One of his regulars, Mayor Ed Neelly, stopped in Monday for a shine.
"He makes my shoes look like a million bucks," Neelly said. "There's an art to it. He knows how to do it right."
"I consider myself the best shoe shine man in the world," he said.
Cousin's work has taken him all around the country, and he's racked up an all-star client list, doing work for Bob Hope, Clint Eastwood, James Brown, George Foreman, Whitney Houston, B.B. King, Johnny Carson and Walter Cronkite, to name a few.
A good deal
Cousin touted his rates: $6 for shoes and $7 for boots, if he shines them on your feet. It's an additional $1 for shoes dropped off. He said 70 percent of his business is walk-in customers.
And if you love your old shoes but they're a little worn, having them repaired and shined costs much less than buying a new pair.
"This is two businesses in one house," Cousin said. "I give them a separate ticket for the shine. This is a good concept. It works for me."
James Farmer of Tupelo also came in on Monday, for a repair. For the past 16 weeks, he's walked five miles a day and has lost more than 65 pounds.
That's great, but not for his shoes.
"I've had these shoes for three years, but when I started walking it caused this," he said, pointing at the worn heels.
His were too damaged for repair, but typically Tupelo Shoe Hospital does all repairs on shoes, and also purses and belts.
Cousin said he used to do some shoe repair, and the Tupelo Shoe Hospital used to do some shoe shine work. Now, he only shines, and the hospital only does cobbling work.
He also makes house calls, for 30 pairs of shoes or more, and has been known to travel.
"In July, Tom Ford flew me to Vegas for the furniture market," he said. "And I'm available for parties. I'm just an added service to whatever is going on."
In the meantime, business has been steady on West Main Street.
"This is the hospital," Cousin said. "People come to the doctor, and want to see the doctor at the hospital. For emergencies, go to the shoe hospital."
Contact Daily Journal reporter Sandi P. Beason at 678-1598 or firstname.lastname@example.org