FINANCIAL DISTRICT — A new shoe-shine shop in the Financial District is banking on the "ultimate" formula for cleaning up scuffed wingtips: polish, buff — and skimpy shorts.
Co-owner Kevin White Jr., 30, said he and his dad, who both live in Queens and work in finance, had bounced around the idea of an upscale shoe-shine spot run by attractive women for some time, and finally decided to make the move.
“We thought it could be a successful twist,” said White, who opened the store three weeks ago. “Finance guys are so busy and stressed, this is a chance to unwind and relax. It’s definitely an upgraded shoe-shine experience.”
Despite the little black shorts and tight tank tops sported by all the female employees, White said the store, which features large leather chairs and flat-screen TVs, is meant to have a classy atmosphere. White also hopes to start serving beer and wine in the store in the next couple of months.
“All the young ladies have undergone professional training — this is an upscale place,” White said. “Many of the women are students or just out of college. Even my sister, a college student, is working there.”
The store's location, on a short, narrow street between Exchange Place and Beaver Street, doesn’t get lots of foot traffic, but White said word of mouth, along with the women passing out fliers on Wall Street in their uniforms, has been drumming up business.
On Wednesday morning, one man, already a repeat customer, was getting his black shoes polished by 19-year-old Kaya Santiago, a Westchester Community College student, in the otherwise empty shop.
“They do a good job,” said the Wall Streeter, who asked his name not be used because his boss didn’t know he was taking an early-morning break. “And yes, it helps that they are very pretty — but the prices are a little high if you don’t get the discount.”
The regular price for a shoe shine, which takes about five minutes, is $7, though the store is offering up a $4 deal for customers who come in before 11 a.m.
Star Shine is also offering its services outside of the shop. If patrons gather 10 or more people in need of a shoe shine, the girls will come to them.
Plus, the women are also setting up booths at corporate events and parties.
“We’ve been surprised by how many corporations have been reaching out to us,” White said.
The women have already booked gigs at events for financial advisors and brokers, as well as at a software trade show at the Javits Center.
As for the women, the two working Wednesday said they’ve enjoyed their shoe-shine jobs so far.
“It’s actually fun,” Santiago said. “Everyone’s been nice, and it's something to do while I'm in school.
"And the tips can be good, usually."