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Eastern Shore Shoe Hospital Moves Into 4,000 Sq. Foot Building

Eastern Shore Shoe Hospital Moves Into 4,000 Sq. Foot Building

Shown above is the newly occupied home of the Eastern Shore Shoe Hospital in Daphne. The 4,000 Square Foot Facility will provide ample space for expansion of the shoe repairing facilities and room for the large stock of western and work boots carried by the store.

Photo By Baldwin County Press


Ben Cruitt - Editor

DAPHNE, Ala. -- “Down the road and across the street,” that’s as far as Mike Bender wanted to move his shoe repair and boot sales store, so he purchased the former location of Springhill Lighting located at 25251 U.S. Highway 98, on the west side of the highway, half way between Babcock Furniture and More, and NFL Building Materials.

Look for a bright red painted building with a large cowboy boot out front.

After extensive remodeling and installing of fixtures and signs, and tons of shoe repair machinery, not to mention hundreds and hundreds of shoes and boots. Mike and his family opened for business week before last.

Michael Bender opened his Eastern Shore Shoe Hospital in Daphne 1994 in the north end of the Gold Mine Pawnshop Building where he with the assistance of his family have served thousands of Eastern Shore residents and visitors with good workmanship and high quality boots, shoes and other leather good for nearly 17 years.

Mike Bender grew up in a family business started in Mobile in 1957 by his Father and Mother, Rankin “Benny” and Lois Bender. Benny, now age 85, still ---

Mike and all his 5 siblings grew up in the shoe business. Mike has been doing shoes for 40 years including his 17 years in Daphne.

The family members working in the shop is a family tradition.

Mike’s wife Sonja and three children work in the shop either part or full time.

Mike’s oldest child, Michael Bender, 32, has worked in the shop 13 years.

Mike’s daughter, Meghin Bender, 22, works on weekends and holidays, and Joseph, Bender 18, his youngest son also works at the shop.


This view shows the interior of the new home of the Eastern Shore Shoe Hospital in Daphne, (L-R) shown at the sales counter is the owners wife, Sonja, the owner, Mike Bender, his wife his oldest son, Michael Bender, his youngest son Joseph Bender, and Alvin Cooper, 35 years with the Bender family, and Chris Till, a fourth generation shoe repairer from Fairhope. Not shown is Mike’s daughter, Meghin Bender. Photo By Baldwin County Press

These third generation shoe repairmen make an important contribution to the business.

According to Mike, when Benny Bender started in the shoe business on Holcombe Avenue in 1957 he had 27 competitors. When Mike opened the Daphne store, the number of shoe repair shops in the Daphne-Mobile area had dropped to eight and the Benders had three of them.

Today the number is few, and if appears that Mike has the only shoe repair facility in Baldwin County.

In addition to sales of a wide variety of work boots, western boots, ladies, men’s, and children’s boots, belts, wallets, and hats. Repairs of all kinds are offered on shoes, boots, belts, purses, luggage and ball gloves.

Shoes can be dyed, and orthopedic work is done. Repairs are made on shoes boots, golf bags, purses, and belts. Even repairs are made to leather vests, and leather cowboy chaps.

I , having a familiarity with this industry would like to say that Mike Bender and his initial establishment of the Eastern Shore Shoe Hospital 17 years ago, but more importantly the establishing of this this new repair and shoe ware sales location is indeed a plus for the City of Daphne and the Eastern Shore and a credit to Mr. Bender and his entire family who participated in the success.

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