Montgomery makes world shiny place

Published 12:00 am Monday, November 22, 1999

Edward Montgomery works to keep the world a shiny place.

The 69-year-old Natchez resident has been a shoeshine man for 54 years. Montgomery operates Uncs Shoeshine Stand on Martin Luther King Jr. Street.

The art of the shine began early for Montgomery.

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&uot;I learned shoe shining at the old Main Street barbershop,&uot; he said. &uot;I’ve been doing it ever since. It has always been a way for me to earn some money.&uot;

Montgomery said the shoeshine has changed over the years. Most customers used to sit at the shoeshine stand to get their shoes shined.

Now, Montgomery has customers who drop off a number of shoes to be shined and pick them up later.

&uot;People just pull up between the horn and drop off their shoes,&uot; Montgomery said.

A good shine usually takes 15 minutes. Shoes cost $3 and boots $5.

When customers stay for the shoeshine, Montgomery tries to keep a lively conversation.

&uot;My first priority is to concentrate on shining the shoe, but I like to carry on a conversation, too,&uot; he said.

Friday tends to be the busiest day for Montgomery. &uot;I’ll stay open until they quit coming,&uot; he said.

Montgomery thinks shoe shining is a dying profession. &uot;You just don’t see the stands like you used to,&uot; he said. &uot;There used to be shoe shine stands at barber shops and hotels.&uot;

George Davis of McComb is one customer who thinks Montgomery should continue with his shoeshine business.

&uot;Natchez ain’t Natchez without a good shoeshine stand,&uot; Davis said.

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