Longtime Denver shoe shiner opens rare brick-and-mortar store

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DENVER -- Tools of the trade. Brush, cloth, polish and shoes. Lots of shoes.

"I've been trying to figure out, did I do a million shoes?" said Vincent Robinson, a longtime Denver shoe shiner.

Robinson started shining shoes at the Odyssey night club in Oklahoma City at 17 years old.

"I went and got my first cousin, his name was Donald, and him and I started shining shoes there," Robinson said.

He never looked back.

Part psychologist, part marriage counselor, and all shoe shiner, Robinson says the work never ceases to keep him interested.

"I know it's going to be new. I know it's not going to be boring. It's always like that, not a day goes by that you don't meet someone new," he said.

Now, after 38 years in the business, Robinson opened his first brick-and-mortar shop on 14th Street in Denver.

It's a place where he can teach his craft to younger kids and pass along a little wisdom, too.

"Life has great opportunities if you just care enough to find them," he said. "There is nothing hard about it, being successful, you just have to want it."

Robinson said shining shoes wasn't a way out of something for him, but a way into a very gratifying way of life.

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