After working in a strict corporate environment for so many years, Domingo Lopez enjoys working outdoors on his own time, mixed in with the crowds and seeing old clients. “I wouldn’t trade it,” he said, and also adding that when he sees his old clients he’s “excited to see them again.” (Desiree Erdmann)
After working in a strict corporate environment for so many years, Domingo Lopez enjoys working outdoors on his own time, mixed in with the crowds and seeing old clients. “I wouldn’t trade it,” he said, and also adding that when he sees his old clients he’s “excited to see them again.”

Desiree Erdmann

Santa Barbara’s ‘sole man’ still shining in retirement

May 7, 2021

Domingo Lopez didn’t grow up thinking he would become a shoe shiner, but one day the opportunity presented itself to him and he took it. “It’s hard at first,” he said. But after practice, repetition and building his confidence, it quickly became his passion in life. 

Now with close to three decades in the business, Lopez works part-time out of retirement—mostly for something to do in-between visits with his family down in Mexico, where he recently bought a home to retire. 

Pierce Wallace consults with Domingo Lopez about a grease stain on his suede boots on April, 29 outside The Barber Shop on State Street in Santa Barbara, Calif. Lopez confidently told Wallace that he could get the stain out. Grease removal is one of the most difficult cleaning and detailing tasks to perform in shoe cleaning.
Pierce Wallace consults with Domingo Lopez about a grease stain on his suede boots on April, 29 outside The Barber Shop on State Street in Santa Barbara, Calif. Lopez confidently told Wallace that he could get the stain out. Grease removal is one of the most difficult cleaning and detailing tasks to perform in shoe cleaning.
(Desiree Erdmann)
Lopez preps the suede boot with a protecting spray before taking a 120-grit square of sandpaper to soften the material and remove the grease stain from the boot. Lopez, who worked inside Nordstrom for 26 years shining shoes, said he prefers being outside because of all the people that walk past. “I like the people,” he said. “I like the talking.”
Lopez preps the suede boot with a protecting spray before taking a 120-grit square of sandpaper to soften the material and remove the grease stain from the boot. Lopez, who worked inside Nordstrom for 26 years shining shoes, said he prefers being outside because of all the people that walk past. “I like the people,” he said. “I like the talking.”
(Desiree Erdmann)
Domingo Lopez retired back in August when the Nordstrom in Pase Nuevo closed down for good, but throughout his 26 years working there he was able to build a 401(k) and buy a house down in Mexico, where he hopes to fully retire. For now, he chooses to work part-time to keep busy. “I’m on free time,” he said.
Domingo Lopez retired back in August when the Nordstrom in Pase Nuevo closed down for good, but throughout his 26 years working there he was able to build a 401(k) and buy a house down in Mexico, where he hopes to fully retire. For now, he chooses to work part-time to keep busy. “I’m on free time,” he said. (Desiree Erdmann)
“I like the detail work, it feels more professional,” said Domingo Lopez, while making sure to get in between the shoe and the sole for a full clean. Lopez not only does the usual shine but also re-colors any bumps and bruises in the shoes.
“I like the detail work, it feels more professional,” said Domingo Lopez, while making sure to get in between the shoe and the sole for a full clean. Lopez not only does the usual shine but also re-colors any bumps and bruises in the shoes.
(Desiree Erdmann)
After working in a strict corporate environment for so many years, Domingo Lopez enjoys working outdoors on his own time, mixed in with the crowds and seeing old clients. “I wouldn’t trade it,” he said, and also adding that when he sees his old clients he’s “excited to see them again.”
After working in a strict corporate environment for so many years, Domingo Lopez enjoys working outdoors on his own time, mixed in with the crowds and seeing old clients. “I wouldn’t trade it,” he said, and also adding that when he sees his old clients he’s “excited to see them again.”
(Desiree Erdmann)

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