Year after year, right after the Cattle Baron’s Ball, Deno’s at Highland Park Village avidly works to clean and repair guests’ boots back to their shiny as new state. Highland Park Village wanted to take the opportunity to catch up with Deno’s and hear more about the famed store’s rich history and just what it’s like to work on all of those boots.
Blog 1931: What is the history of Deno’s? And, can you tell us a little bit about Deno himself?
Deno’s: He is one of five children raised by their young father after Deno’s mother was killed during an aerial attack on his village during WWII. As a young teenager, Deno traveled from his village to a larger city where he learned shoe making as an apprentice. Deno came to the U.S. in the 1950’s after leaving postwar Europe.
He settled in Dallas and opened his own shoe repair shop on Lovers Lane in 1960. At the same time, he also had a connection to the Village Shoe Service in Highland Park Village by helping Mr. Polenzi with additional work. After a few years, in the middle to late 60’s, Deno bought the Village Shoe Service from Mr. Polenzi and renamed it Deno’s Village Shoe Service which later became Deno’s of Highland Park.
Blog 1931: Who manages the store today?
Deno’s: Jimmy and Harry have operated the store since 1996, although Deno and Angelina are still involved to this day.
Blog 1931: How many years have you been working on the Cattle Baron’s Ball?
Deno’s: We’ve been taking care of Cattle Baron’s boots from the beginning.
Blog 1931: What do you recall from the experience several years ago when they had the huge rainstorm?
Deno’s: If I remember correctly they called the previous Cattle Baron’s rainstorm “The Disaster in the Pasture” and it certainly was. The boots were even worse than this bunch with boots literally caked in mud.
Blog 1931: What is an estimate on boots you have received from this year’s Cattle Baron’s Ball? Have the boots been really muddy?
Deno’s: 300-400 pairs and still counting. The boots have been quite muddy, but at least they don’t have mud inside them like the “Disaster in the Pasture”.
Blog 1931: Why do you think people choose Deno’s of Highland Park? Of course because you are shoe experts, but what else?
Deno’s: Most shops are one or two men operations they fix every type of repair that comes in. What we do different is we have specialists in each type of repair and that is all they focus on. For instance a shoe may need to have their heels fixed, some patching and some dye work. Most shops have one man who is probably not proficient in all three types of repairs do the work. We have three different experts work on the shoe. It is a process that definitely takes longer, but the quality of the repair is much higher.
Blog 1931: What do you like about being here in Highland Park Village?
Deno’s: Being in the Highland Park Village means being part of the community. We have been here for so long I can honestly say that many of the people that come into the store are more than just customers, they are also friends. I think it would be very hard to replicate that anywhere else.
Blog 1931: What is one of your favorite memories about being here in Highland Park Village?
Deno’s: Probably the intimate feel of the of the Village that cannot be duplicated.
Thank you to the Deno’s team and family for this interview!