With help from a prominent pastor and his church, a 50-year-old Liberty City shoe repair shop celebrated its grand reopening the day before Easter, nearly 16 months after its eviction from a Miami-Dade County-owned building.
“We’re trying to make this business go further than me,” he said. The store had been located down the street, just east of Northwest Seventh Avenue, near I-95 until officials deemed the structure unsafe and demolished it in January 2013.
That property is now the construction site of the Seventh Avenue Transit Village, a redevelopment project 10 years in the making that will provide a taxi, bus and jitney hub, 120 units of affordable and senior housing, retail stores, a three-story garage and a theater.
Greene’s dream to keep the business alive was supported by members of the community and his church, New Birth Baptist Church Cathedral of Faith International in Miami, led by Bishop Victor T. Curry, Greene’s long-time customer, friend and religious leader.
Curry, founder and senior pastor of New Birth and president of gospel station WMBM-1490, says he’s known Greene since 1984 when he first had his shoes repaired at the shop. But it was not until Greene’s daughter, Takmekia Greene-Williams, introduced Tyrone and his wife to New Birth in 1999 that they became close.
“It was easy to support him. We believe in supporting businesses in the community,” said Curry, who has done the same for several local retail stores and restaurants. “When things happened, we wanted him and his family to know he’s not alone.”
Greene attributed the revival of his family legacy to Liberty City locals, New Birth and God during a live broadcast with Curry from the store.
He said Curry provided major monetary and spiritual support by directing the church and the community to support the business. “I can’t put a tag on that,” said Greene.
Customers showed the family their support as they lined up to have their shoes repaired.
One woman who came with pies and Wing Stop, located near Greene’s former location, donated platters of chicken wings and vegetables for the Greene family and customers to enjoy. Greene’s older brother, Stan Quinn, who owns a custom T-shirt company, compared the reopening to giving birth.
“To see this reborn is like a baby coming in. It’s an unbelievable feeling,” said Quinn. “We’ve been torn down; now it’s time to go up.” Contact Sofia Galiano at firstname.lastname@example.org