Even after 15 years of owning the Hastings Bootery in Hastings-on-Hudson, owner Joe Kwong, in between helping customers, still meticulously vacuums his store to keep it spotless. Granted that task has been much more difficult lately after a hit and run driver crashed into the Bootery, leaving glass and debris everywhere.
"The outside on Sunday morning, a guy drove a car very fast and hit the corner of the building and then he ran off," Kwong said. "Hit and run."
Wooden boards now cover the windows, but Kwong still remains open for business while he works to fix and clean up his store. Even the tragic bad luck can't throw Kwong off his routine as the man with the thin white hair and glasses continues to clean every inch of his shop, all while dressed like a businessman in his white button down shirt with slacks and brown dress shoes. His quiet demeanor would lead you to believe that nothing is at all different in the store.
"I'm a shy, low-key guy," he said.
Kwong is originally from Hong Kong, where he emigrated from 39 years ago so he refuses to let a mishap such as this get his spirits down. He still would rather discuss the intricacies of being a shoe salesman than the damage to the front of the store.
"A store like this is a hard job, especially selling shoes," Kwong said. "Selling shoes requires a lot of experience and knowledge. The shoes, quality, how to fit them because they make the shoes differently."
He takes pride in running the small business in Hastings, but admittedly was taken aback by the support he has received from the community.
"The neighborhood, sometimes they come to here to support our store," Kwong said. "Some of them make me feel very emotional because they come in no matter. Sell to me [they say], they try to help us. Then whatever fits them, they buy."
Even as his store is fractured, Kwong still goes about his business as if nothing has changed. Even though the store has lost money on merchandise and fixtures Kwong merely continues to do what he's done for the last 15 years. He sees no reason to change.
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