Documentary film cobbles together history of Medina’s Porter Shoe Repair shop

MEDINA, Ohio — You could say that local documentarian Miles Reed has put his heart and soul — or maybe sole — into his newest film, about Medina’s Porter family and their shoe repair business.

Reed — a local historian, writer and filmmaker — presented “The Story of a Medina Treasure” Feb. 4 at the Medina Library. One hundred people crowded the community rooms to hear the Porters’ story.

Brian Feron, president of the Medina County Historical Society, welcomed the guests to the first membership meeting of the year.

Reed began his presentation by saying that he was not aware of the Porter business until he reached adulthood.

“I never had a pair of shoes nice enough to fix,” he said.

Phyllis Porter and Blanca Reed

Phyllis Porter, left, proprietor of Porter’s Shoe Repair in Medina, poses with Blanca Reed at the showing of a documentary film about the history of the Porter family and their business. (Mary Jane Brewer, special to

But when the building housing the Porters’ shoe repair shop was scheduled to be torn down, local supporters of the business approached Reed to preserve the story.

Reed realized that along with blacksmith shops and milliners, shoe repair shops are about to be a thing of the past. He delved into the history of the “little, humble building” at 137 W. Liberty St. — and found a treasure trove of Medina history.

Robert Porter, father of Herb Porter and one of a very few African-Americans in Medina, founded the Porter Shoe Repair business in 1956, the same year that the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Rosa Parks were organizing the Montgomery, Ala., bus boycotts.

An entrepreneur, Robert Porter opened seven store locations by 1965 — including one each in Wellington, Brunswick, Rittman and Fairlawn, in addition to the Medina

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