Frank and Betty Gallo have been the owners Rocky’s, a shoe repair shop in downtown Clarksburg, for roughly twenty years, but the history of their store goes back much further.
Rocky’s Shoe Shop has been a staple in Clarksburg since 1940, after Frank Gallo’s father returned from military service. Frank recalls working at the shop after school in his boyhood, shining shoes at the brass and marble shining bench in the store. He even remembers his first customer, and recounts how, while buffing up the gentleman’s black pair of shoes, he stained his white socks. He says the man never let him live it down, but he still became his favorite customer.
Frank and Betty have been married for 47 years, and in that time, have raised three children and six grandchildren. Now they live near Good Hope with a couple of friendly, curly-haired dogs who they bring with them to Rocky’s every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. While at the shop, the two divide labors - Frank, with his many years of experience, concentrates on mending while Betty handles the paperwork, customers, and the occasional shoe shine. She recounts how her husband taught her how to use the machine in the back, noting her initial fear of becoming caught in the device.
It’s easy to tell that for the Gallos, their shop is a labor of love, as, despite an increase in the cost of materials and freight, Rocky’s still manages to offer services of the highest quality. Among the projects they’ve recently taken on are a pair of boots for which they’ve replaced the sole, making it more lightweight, durable, and comfortable; a man’s rare size 16.5 shoe; and a pair of Ugg boots.
In a world of disposable everything - cameras, clothes, and shoes to name a few - Frank says that keeping a shoe repair business open and flourishing is becoming more difficult. “Nothin’s easy today,” he says. But the owners of Rocky’s Shoe Shop, Frank and Betty Gallo, pledge to keep going for as long as they are able. It’s a matter of pride, of love, and of Clarksburg’s history.