Gus and Co. on the move

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One of Downtown's longest-standing businesses is set to move to a new location closer to its core market.

Gus and Co. Shoe Repair & Luggage Shoppe was established in 1904 and provided shoe and luggage repair services and old-fashioned shoe shines.

The City is reviewing plans for retail tenant improvement at 228 W. Adams St., a few blocks from 225 N. Laura St., where the business has been for 12 years.

The CBRE commercial real estate firm is representing the space.

Plans show Reynolds, Smith and Hills Inc. as the architect and Dav-Lin Interior Contractors as the contractor for the project.

The project plans refer to "white-box space," which means the vacant space is being prepared for improvements.

The new partitions and flooring carry a $59,000 project cost for the 1,826 square feet of space.

Gus and Co. owner Greg Vacarro said he plans to be in the new space in 8-12 weeks.

"We'll be doing everything we do now – shoe and luggage repair, shoe shines and dry cleaning – and we're adding alterations," Vacarro said.

"It will be a much nicer store and we're closer to the courthouse. You can see it from the front door," he said.

Vacarro has known a move was in his future since April 2011 when Ron Chamblin, owner of Chamblin's Uptown Bookstore & Café, purchased the building at 225 N. Laura St., next door to the bookstore.

Chamblin said Wednesday the relocation of the shoe shop allows him to speed up his plan to convert the three-story building into mixed-use retail and residential.

The top two floors have been partially demolished and will be converted into one-bedroom and studio apartments.

The ground floor will be built out as a restaurant.

"We're going to stay 'veggie' in the café in the bookstore, and build a full restaurant next door," Chamblin said.

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