Mohammad Shafi wants to see the shoe on the other foot. As many of them as possible.
After more than 70 years in the shoe business, Shafi has decided to retire at the age of 91.
Shafi, or ‘Mo’, has operated shoe stores in Parksville (most recently Ortho Depot Inc) and Nanaimo. With his retirement, he has decided to donate his remaining inventory to the Mt. Arrowsmith Salvation Army to support the community and help individuals walk in comfort.
Shafi was born in Pakistan in 1929 and learned how to make shoes when he was just 15. He lived in England for 11 years before moving to Canada in 1964 and operating several businesses in the greater Toronto area. After his wife June retired, they moved to Parksville in 2005 to be closer to their son and his family.
Shafi opened his first store in B.C. at Wembley Mall in Parksville, followed by a second location in Nanaimo. He ran these stores for more than a decade before deciding to focus more on the Parksville store.
One of Shafi’s customers was Major Norm Hamelin, Corps Officer of the Mt. Arrowsmith Salvation Army. The two became friends and in one of their conversations, spoke about retirement. Shafi said that if he ever retired, the Salvation Army would get what was left of his inventory and he delivered on his promise.
“We are deeply honoured for this gift of specialty shoes, normally priced expensively, will be available at reasonable prices for our community”, says Bonnie Brown, Salvation Army business manager. “The donation of Mo’s stock will help contribute to raising essential funds to support our local soup kitchen and food bank, which continue to feed and support the more than 2,000 people relying on Salvation Army services each month in our community.”
The shoes will be available on Salvation Army Thrift Store shelves in Parksville and Qualicum Beach as of Thursday, March 11.
Mo and June love the Parksville area and continue to spend time with their growing family whenever possible. Both thanked their many customers, suppliers and friends for the many years of helping them with their business.
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