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New owners, from left, Nora and Joe Garofoli recently took over Gentle Shoe Shop in Gateway from retiring owners Jesse and Frankie Gentle.

New Gentle Shoe Shop owner Joe Garofoli, left, holds his work up for inspection from master cobbler Jesse Gentle. Garofoli served a nine-month apprenticeship under Gentle's tutelage.
Local businesses are the lifeblood of our community. The Mid-county Memo offers this section to our business neighbors for news, advancements, promotions, expansions and other noteworthy events to be shared with the community at large. Business Memo submissions for the July issue are due by Tuesday, June 15. For best results, e-mail Darlene Vinson at You may also mail submissions to 3510 N.E. 134th Ave., Portland, OR 97230. To leave a phone message, dial 503-287-8904. The Mid-county Memo fax number is 503-249-7672.

Gentles sell shoe shop to new cobbler
Jesse Gentle and his wife, Frankie, have turned the keys of Gentle Shoe Shop at 10945 N.E. Halsey St. over to its new owners, Joe and Nora Garofoli. Joe has served as an apprentice in the shop since September of last year, and is ready to offer quality shoe repair service to the shop's loyal customers. The Gentle Memories shop will be replaced by a quality used shoe store. Garofoli sees this as a valuable addition in this down economy. Customers can expect a continuation of the excellent service and warm, friendly atmosphere created by the Gentles. Jesse will be in the shop for one day a week until the transition is completed in September.

After more than 60 years in the shoe repair business, Jesse has decided it is time to lay down his repair tools. He began learning the tricks of the trade as a teenager and has truly enjoyed his career. While he started out in Texas, he has spent the last 30 years here in Oregon. He purchased the shop on Halsey in 1996. His wife Frankie retired as a school counselor in the same year after spending 41 years in public education. Her contribution to the family business became the Gentle Memories Antiques and Collectibles Shop.

The couple will soon celebrate 60 years of marriage and believe strongly in involvement in church, country and community. They are members of Mountainview Christian Church, where they serve in the Frontline Greeters Program and in the Outreach Program. They have been members of the Gateway Optimist Club, and Jesse served as president of the Master Shoe Repair Association of the Northwest. Frankie was president of the East County Alpha Kappa Chapter of Delta Kappa Gamma Society for Outstanding Women Educators and has served as secretary of the East County Retired Educators' Association. Their major volunteer work has been for Birch Community Services. Jesse has trained many state vocational students through the years, and he served in the U.S. Navy in World War II, where he taught shoe repair at the Naval Training Station in San Diego in order that shoe repair shops could be installed on ships. He was also a member of the 36th Division of the Texas National Guard for eight years.
The Gentles say they will mostly miss the wonderful relationships they have enjoyed with their customers through the years. When asked of future plans, the Gentles say they hope to do more volunteer work and to spend more time with family and friends. Jesse, who went skydiving on his 83rd birthday, says, “ 'I can still mend the rips, and patch the holes, build up the heels, and save the soles,' so I will help my fellow shoemakers if they should need me.”

Stop in to introduce yourself to Joe and Nora as they carry on the tradition of quality workmanship and friendly customer service. You may run into Jesse while you're there. Call the Garofoli's and Gentle Shoe Shop at 503-252-0974.

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