Welcome to The Shoeshine Guild! The place where we are dedicated and meticulous (almost ridiculous) about shoe and leather care. We have been providing expert service to the Bay Area and beyond since 1996. Not only that, but our deeper mission is to provide stabilizing employment to people who have suffered from Alcohol Use Disorder, and others with related challenges. We privilege those who have less privilege wherever possible. We support re-entry into the workforce after career gaps that many employers would find objectionable. After workers have been with the company for a period of time, they have option to join the LLC and become owner/operators. This culture empowers a natural gratitude and dynamism; one where what blesses one blesses all- and that shine keeps on shining!
During the pandemic, we shut down all locations. Rachel Leamy who has been the operations partner since 1999 is keeping the business alive with the post-pandemic re-boot. Currently we have rebooted 1 Embarcadero with Nico B. as our site manager, and 555 California with Freddy Cook Jr. as our site manager. We are re-branding from “A Shine & Co.” to “The Shoeshine Guild,” and we have big plans to expand our socially conscious entrepreneurship offering guild membership to shiners and helping people to start their own shine businesses all over the globe. We intend to uplift the industry and continue to uplift people who need vocational support and community.
The Shoeshine Guild began in 1996 as “A Shoeshine & Company,” with Kevin Tuohy as our sole proprietor. We had one portable shoeshine chair and a couple of shiners, who together began marketing to conventioneers who wanted to put something special in their booth. We capitalized on the dot-com boom and the swing music revival, becoming expert swing dancers as well as stellar shiners. More shiners showed up- interested in the retro themed industry, and together we created a business that would be the best in its class while showcasing the unique people who formed it. Not only have we shined shoes, but we’ve performed swing dancing, bluegrass music, jazz music, improvisational acting and comedy, specially designed entertainment packages, manicures/pedicures, and we’ve even formed a promotional cheerleading squad!
The most important common bond among the original crew members is that we are all recovered alcoholics. Together, we created a place to work and grow as industry leaders and as people. The atmosphere of like-mindedness created support and positivity that none had imagined would be so beneficial for all concerned. Governor Grey Davis actually presented us with an award for “Providing a Joyous Contribution to the Community.”
We opened our first permanent location in 1999 at The Crocker Galleria. Soon after, Rachel Leamy joined Kevin as operations partner. We were so successful that we were asked to open in the Bank of America Center (now 555 California) in 2001. When Kevin answered his country’s call to serve a tour in the Middle East after the tragedy of 9/11, Meghan Scanlon was promoted from Bank of America site manager to Financial Partner. Later that year, we opened in the Russ Building, adding full-service shoe repair to all of our shops. In October 2008, we went bi-coastal, adding two new stands in Jet Blue’s terminal 5 at JFK. Kevin relocated to New York to run operations there. In February 2009, we brought our Five Star services to 1 Embarcadero Center. We later expanded in New York adding a kiosk in Chelsea Market in Manhattan and adding 4 stands in The Delta Terminal, LaGuardia Airport. With so much action in NY, we promoted KeaLani Lada from General Manager San Francisco, to Managing Partner NY.
During all of the primary expansions mentioned, we have continued to provide unbeatable event services, been the focus of many a news program or article (link to these we have to build). We’ve been featured in a documentary film about shoe shiners http://shinersdocumentary.com/trailer/ (link to Doc trailer) and simultaneously opening and closing many stands as supply and demand have waxed and waned. We’ve held concessions at The Moscone Center, The Olympic Club, Westin St. Francis, Macy’s Men’s Store, 560 Mission St, and Oakland’s Frank Ogawa Plaza. We’ve served many San Francisco and New York offices with our roaming shine service, and we have a long list of satisfied customers. (link to testimonials) We trust that you will be one of them if you aren’t already!
Chief Operations Partner,
Sales/Marketing West Coast
Rachel has been shining since the spring of 1997, helping to open the Crocker Galleria stand in April 1999, and joining Kevin as operations partner soon after. Her experience and talents have been focused to build a company that would employ sober alcoholics and bring out the best in everyone. She has enjoyed bringing her many creative abilities to the shine venue, from serenading customers with her ukulele and improvised songs, to designing and building most of the portable chairs we use for special event services. She is uncanny with leather color restoration, and takes great pleasure in learning new tricks and methodology to continually improve our services, from shine magic to customer relations. She is a delighted mother of two, ceaselessy multi-tasking her way through the day to juggle the demands of a growing business and active family.
Freddy Cook Jr. * Team San Francisco
555 California Site Manager
Freddy has been a shoeshine family favorite since November of 2006. He is a fun loving artisan who paints and plays guitar. He has a beautiful singing voice, always ready to get a rousing chorus going amongst friends. In the fall of 2007, Freddy took over operations at the Olympic Club shop. He has been a rock who’s on a roll!
…nobody shines like they do. It’s almost lethal.
Tom Newmeyer – Customer quoted in the San Francisco Chronicle
Whether for a special event, or for day to day service, I recommend without reservation hiring The Shoeshine Guild to those seeking to work with the best in the Shoe Shine business.
Annette Kevranian, CEO – Method 42 Productions
Choosing The Shoeshine Guild to work in our client’s trade show booth at AAN was truly a great decision. Everyone was so energetic and extremely creative in attracting attention that soon trade show attendees were crowding into the booth (in the back of the hall) and standing in line for a shoe shine and the great entertainment.
Extraordinary Show Productions Ltd. (ESP) highly recommends The Shoeshine Guild to anyone looking for a fun and entertaining way to increase traffic to their trade show booth.
Sandy Flom ESP (Extraordinary Show Productions Ltd.)
…I know a good shine when I see it. I’ve had my shoes shined all over the world and these shiners are world class.
I have worked with this group of talented individuals on several occasions and they have been outstanding. They turn a shoe shine into an entertainment adventure. My clients have been most impressed with the services and entertainment provided.
Douglas Linneman, CMP, Director of Conference Services – Omni San Francisco Hotel
The Webby Awards beauty exhibit at New York’s Internet World would not have been what it was without you! Your hard work, dedication and ability to work within our budget proved to be invaluable. Thank you for making this project enjoyable. You’re awesome!
Tiffany Shlain, Founder/Director – The Webby Awards
It’s the most amazing shine in the city. It’s no wonder many of the city’s top financial wizards, lawyers and software engineers turn to the sassy shiners for a respite.
San Francisco Chronicle
So many businesses fail; The Shoeshine Guild has, in fact, succeeded for the reason that its staff, from ‘Shiners’ on down, have all individually faced failure and beat it back with hard work and sobriety. Each, in a personal way, has succeeded, as has the company. What a great group of people who shine as brightly now in life as do the shoes in which we walk in their support.
Haig A. Harris, Jr., Attorney
The Shoeshine Guild has brought a unique flare to the luxury suites at SBC Park. Our guests truly appreciate the service they provide and even make it a point to wear specific shoes on ‘shine days.’ This group is dependable, professional and fun to work with.
Amy Loskutoff, Director of Luxury Suites, San Francisco Giants, AT&T Park
The Shoeshine Guild has been an institution at Crocker Galleria in San Francisco since 1996.The founder, Kevin Tuohy, is a one-of-a-kind shining star and brightens everyone’s day, providing impeccable service with an engaging smile and unbelievable charisma. His team members are equally talented and wonderful and always go above and beyond that extra mile to provide excellent service.
Besides offering the best shine in town, Kevin and his crew are talented individuals, providing improvisational party entertainment from cheerleading to stand up comedy and beyond. At our last event, the crowd went wild when the Crocker Galleria “cheerleaders” made a surprise appearance–they were so popular, in fact, that we used them again during our 2004 Holiday promotions with equal success!
I look forward to working with The Shoeshine Guild at every opportunity, and I wholeheartedly recommend their wide range of creative services.
Sina von Reitzenstein, Retail Manager – Crocker Galleria
In the numerous times I have worked with the wonderful people at Shine and Co, every event has gone perfectly. During our off site meetings their staff is friendly polite and hard working. They make me look good and better yet, every pair of shoes they touch come out perfect.
Peter Monty, Vice President – DWS Investments
I thoroughly enjoyed your involvement in my convention booth. The shoe shine service that you provided was top-notch and contributed a great deal to the large level of traffic we received at the booth. I knew that the shoe shine service would be a great draw to get attendees to visit our booth and stay for a while. That way, those of us representing Minnesota Life could have full conversations with attendees that might otherwise stop long enough (only) to get a trinket. The free service did exactly that. But the icing on the cake was the joyous conversation that you brought to our guests.
After working with you I have greater expectations going forward. The convention was such a tremendous success, due in large part to your involvement. In addition to my wonderful experience with you in the booth, Kelly raved about how easy you were to work with in terms of coordinating the event… your cooperation and responsiveness.
I’m thankful to you for your outstanding participation in this event, and I hope to have the opportunity to work with you in the future. My colleague is thrilled to work with you in New York.
Mary Docken, Group Life Insurance Marketing Specialist – Minnesota Life
Some Of Our Satisfied Customers Include:
- Associated Entertainment Consultants, Inc.
- Bill Graham Presents
- Blue Frog
- Broadway Studios
- Charles Schwab
- Cisco Systems
- Cushman & Wakefield
- Diageo (Crown Royal, Johnny Walker)
- Dreyfus Financial
- DWS Investments.
- Ernst & Young
- Extraordinary Show Productions
- First Republic Bank
- Giorgio Armani
- Golden Gate Bridge Highway and Transportation Dist.
- Golden State Warriors
- Hanoch McCarty (Chicken Soup for the Soul)
- Innovative Entertainment
- J.P. Morgan
- Johnny Walker
- Learn It!
- McKesson HBOC
- Method 42
- Miller Freeman
- Minnesota Life
- Moody’s KMV
- Oakland Raiders
- Office Depot
- Rick Hearns Productions
- S.F. Giants
- San Francisco Chamber of Commerce
- Securian Financial Group
- SED International
- Service America
- The Freeman Group
- The Great American Music Hall
- The Lurie Company
- The U.S.O. Show
- Thomas Weisel Partners
- U.S. Concepts
- UBS Warburg
- Webby Awards
- William Grant (Hendrick’s Gin)
- Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of America