By Lorry Myers
When I read the announcement, I eagerly called to say congratulations. I consider Steve and his wife, Deb, longtime friends and I wanted them to know that I was proud that they were being recognized. Steve laughed and told me that when he received the call about the banquet where his shoe shop would be awarded “Business of the Year”, Steve told the caller that he was pleased and grateful for the award but there was a problem with the banquet.
He wasn’t going to be there.
In 1976, Steve and Deb Albert opened Albert’s Shoe Repair in a little town where they nurtured their business and their two daughters, Laura and Becky. Over the years, the family has been good to Centralia, giving their time to girls’ athletics and sport boosters and coordinating efforts to build a practice track at a local school. Albert’s Shoe is a business that donates when they are asked, volunteer where they are needed, and give back when they can.
They take care of more than business.
Steve knew that he couldn’t always depend on re-heeling boots and high heeled shoes so he expanded Albert’s Shoe Repair to include bridles and saddles and zippers in leather jackets. He added a line of steel toe boots for local workers in local industries. Steve became trained and licensed in orthotics and shoe modification and used those skills to bring new customers into his shop and into our town. In the last few years, he brought his younger daughter into the business and expanded their service area by providing repair drop off locations in surrounding towns.
No wonder Albert’s Shoe is Business of the Year.
Steve and Deb invested in this town because this is where they watched their daughters grow up and move away and start families of their own. When their grandchildren arrived, the Alberts hired someone to cover the shop so they could be there, a steady presence in the lives of their grandchildren.
One of those grandchildren is Drew Lock.