The Shoeshine Guild began in 1996 as “A Shoeshine & Company,” with Kevin Tuohy as our sole proprietor. Kevin and some friends built a portable shoeshine chair and started marketing to conventioneers who wanted to put something special in their booth. When the dotcom boom hit, our shiners were in huge demand. Simultaneously, there was a big swing music scene revival, and everyone wanted to hire our portable stand and its shining stars. Kevin and Tommy Daly took the helm, becoming expert swing dancers as well as stellar shiners. They recruited more friends who were also interested in the retro themed industry, and together we created a business that would be the best in its class while showcasing the unique people who formed it.
The most important common bond among the original crew members is that we are all recovered alcoholics. Together, we created a place to work and grow as industry leaders and as people. The atmosphere of like-mindedness created support and positivity that none had imagined would be so beneficial for all concerned. Governor Grey Davis actually presented us with an award for “Providing a Joyous Contribution to the Community.”
We opened our first permanent location in 1999 at The Crocker Galleria. Soon after, Rachel Leamy joined Kevin as operations partner. We were so successful that we were asked to open in the Bank of America Center (now 555 California) in 2001. When Kevin answered his country’s call to serve a tour in the Middle East after the tragedy of 9/11, Meghan Scanlon was promoted from Bank of America site manager to full partner . Later that year, we opened in the Russ Building, adding full service shoe repair to all of our shops. Soon thereafter, we began providing the Olympic Club with drop-off and in shop service on their basement level. In October, 2008, we went bi-coastal, adding two new stands in Jet Blue’s terminal 5 at JFK. Most recently, in February, 2009, we brought our Five Star services to 1 Embarcadero Center! At our Embarcadero stand you can also buy high end refurbished shoes for great prices. With the advent of our New York locations, we’ve also expanded our event services to the Washington D.C. metro area.
Through the years, we’ve opened and closed many stands as supply and demand have waxed and waned- Moscone Center, Westin St. Francis, Macy’s Men’s Store, 560 Mission St, and Oakland’s Frank Ogawa Plaza. We’ve served many San Francisco and New York offices with in house shine service, and we have a long list of satisfied customers for whom we’ve provided unbeatable event services. Not only have we shined shoes, but we’ve performed swing dancing, bluegrass music, jazz music, improvisational acting and comedy, specially designed entertainment packages, manicures/pedicures, and we’ve even formed a promotional cheerleading squad!
As we’ve expanded, we’ve had to make some changes while holding true to our original business model. Our primary goal is to help others to help themselves and in turn help others. We have expanded our staff to include non-alcoholics who fit in with our crew and who can benefit from a sober and deeply caring environment. This is usually people who are friends and family of our present workers. This workforce empowers a natural dynamism; one where what blesses one blesses all.
- Kevin Tuohy
- Rachel Leamy
- Meghan Reynolds
- Kealani Lada
- Freddy C.
- Michael T.
- Sam C.
- Greg T.
- Claymon R.
- Sam B.
Sales/Marketing East Coast
Kevin founded this company in 1996, shining shoes with a portable chair at conventions and special events. Before he formed The Shoeshine Guild, his charm and charisma had already made him an unforgettable character as a server in San Francisco hot spots such as Postrio and Lulu. If you walk down the street with him, it seems he’s friends with everyone. Not only do people recognize “the man in the hat,” but he remembers every single one of their names! A U.S. Army Veteran, he left the business in the hands of his partners after the tragedy of 9/11 to serve a tour in the Middle East. We’re so glad he made it back, as we missed the bright spot in our lives that is Kevin- greeting all passersby with a bright smile, a friendly hello, and a sincere compliment. Kevin is currently the contributing shoe care expert for Men’s Health magazine. These days, you can find him in New York City running our Chelsea Market stand in Manhattan as well as our operations in jetBlue’s Terminal 5 at JFK. Beautifully profiled by Johnston and Murphy in October of 2012, you can hear more from Kevin about our business here: Find-a-Shine Kevin Tuohy
Chief Operations Partner,
Sales/Marketing West Coast
Rachel has been shining since the spring of 1997, helping to open the Crocker Galleria stand in April 1999, and joining Kevin as operations partner soon after. Her experience and talents have been focused to build a company that would employ sober alcoholics and bring out the best in everyone. She has enjoyed bringing her many creative abilities to the shine venue, from serenading customers with her ukulele and improvised songs, to designing and building most of the portable chairs we use for special event services. She is uncanny with leather color restoration, and takes great pleasure in learning new tricks and methodology to continually improve our services, from shine magic to customer relations. She is a delighted mother of two, ceaselessy multi-tasking her way through the day to juggle the demands of a growing business and active family.
Chief Financial Partner,
Meghan has been on the scene from the beginning. One of the first ladies of shine, she is an integral part of the creation of this business. After many years surviving the high life in the Malibu/Hollywood music scene, she had just the kind of strength and honesty that helped to forge the atmosphere we now enjoy. While we love to have fun, she has done much to establish the bedrock of respect and professionalism underlying all that we do. She joined as a partner in ’02 and brought with her tremendous power and experience in business / management and vocational rehab. She has relocated to the East Coast where she heads up the special event services and holds down the financial fort as she builds a family with her husband and soon to be second child. It is her level head and creative practicality that keeps the business grounded and growing.
National Managing Partner
Kealani joined the team in Nov of 2005. A quick study, she became a customer favorite right away. In early ’07 she had to return to her Portland home for personal reasons, and continued her paramedic career while there. Things were good, but the shoeshine bug had bitten her, so she returned to us in September of that year. By December, she was running the shoe repair operations and soon after added General Manager to her title. In January of 2012, KeaLani became the newest partner of The Shoeshine Guild, moving to New York to help Kevin with expansion efforts there. She claims she never wants to work anywhere else, and she shows it. Her standard of excellence in all that she does has pushed the whole company forward, increasing our knowledge base and improving customer service. Her aptitude is complimented by a great sense of humor. If you ask her nicely, she’ll tell you why she got that “fools rush in” tattoo, and when the weather is nice, you just might see her riding her Harley Davidson around San Francisco.
Freddy Cook Jr. * Team San Francisco
555 California Site Manager
Freddy has been a shoeshine family favorite since November of 2006. He is a fun loving artisan who paints and plays guitar. He has a beautiful singing voice, always ready to get a rousing chorus going amongst friends. In the fall of 2007, Freddy took over operations at the Olympic Club shop. He has been a rock who’s on a roll!
Michael T. * Team San Francisco
San Francisco General Manager
Sam C. * Team San Francisco
Crocker Galleria Manager
Greg T. * Team New York
From the day he began shining shoes at our jetBlue location in February of 2012, Greg has been making us all smile. Told he would be learning “The Best Shoeshine in the World,” he took the training to heart and attempts to deliver on this promise every time. With a dry and surprising humor, he keeps customers and co-workers laughing non-stop. After two years of hard work, hustle, and dedication, we couldn’t help but promote Greg to Site Manager of our jetBlue operations in 2014. As our jetBlue manager, he has led the crew in repeatedly beating sales incentives, achieving record sales numbers to date. When Greg is not working, he’s pushing the boundaries of sartorial style as he enjoys the New York City night life – watch out for his Stubbs and Wootton velvet slippers on the dance floor!
Claymon R. * Team New York
If you are passing by our stands at LaGuardia Airport, and you see a young man dancing, singing, having fun, and delighting everyone who walks by, then you have just seen Claymon! Claymon brings a youthful energy and a sense of optimism and fun to everyone in Terminal 5. Underlying this joyful energy is an attitude of excellence and an inherent work ethic that make him an integral part of the team, as well as our jetBlue Training Officer. As he travels the streets of New York, his talent for for putting together designer fashion ensembles make him a candidate to be photographed by the city’s hippest street-style bloggers!
Sam B. * Team New York
…nobody shines like they do. It’s almost lethal.
Tom Newmeyer – Customer quoted in the San Francisco Chronicle
Whether for a special event, or for day to day service, I recommend without reservation hiring The Shoeshine Guild to those seeking to work with the best in the Shoe Shine business.
Annette Kevranian, CEO – Method 42 Productions
Choosing The Shoeshine Guild to work in our client’s trade show booth at AAN was truly a great decision. Everyone was so energetic and extremely creative in attracting attention that soon trade show attendees were crowding into the booth (in the back of the hall) and standing in line for a shoe shine and the great entertainment.
Extraordinary Show Productions Ltd. (ESP) highly recommends The Shoeshine Guild to anyone looking for a fun and entertaining way to increase traffic to their trade show booth.
Sandy Flom ESP (Extraordinary Show Productions Ltd.)
…I know a good shine when I see it. I’ve had my shoes shined all over the world and these shiners are world class.
I have worked with this group of talented individuals on several occasions and they have been outstanding. They turn a shoe shine into an entertainment adventure. My clients have been most impressed with the services and entertainment provided.
Douglas Linneman, CMP, Director of Conference Services – Omni San Francisco Hotel
The Webby Awards beauty exhibit at New York’s Internet World would not have been what it was without you! Your hard work, dedication and ability to work within our budget proved to be invaluable. Thank you for making this project enjoyable. You’re awesome!
Tiffany Shlain, Founder/Director – The Webby Awards
It’s the most amazing shine in the city. It’s no wonder many of the city’s top financial wizards, lawyers and software engineers turn to the sassy shiners for a respite.
San Francisco Chronicle
So many businesses fail; The Shoeshine Guild has, in fact, succeeded for the reason that its staff, from ‘Shiners’ on down, have all individually faced failure and beat it back with hard work and sobriety. Each, in a personal way, has succeeded, as has the company. What a great group of people who shine as brightly now in life as do the shoes in which we walk in their support.
Haig A. Harris, Jr., Attorney
The Shoeshine Guild has brought a unique flare to the luxury suites at SBC Park. Our guests truly appreciate the service they provide and even make it a point to wear specific shoes on ‘shine days.’ This group is dependable, professional and fun to work with.
Amy Loskutoff, Director of Luxury Suites, San Francisco Giants, AT&T Park
The Shoeshine Guild has been an institution at Crocker Galleria in San Francisco since 1996.The founder, Kevin Tuohy, is a one-of-a-kind shining star and brightens everyone’s day, providing impeccable service with an engaging smile and unbelievable charisma. His team members are equally talented and wonderful and always go above and beyond that extra mile to provide excellent service.
Besides offering the best shine in town, Kevin and his crew are talented individuals, providing improvisational party entertainment from cheerleading to stand up comedy and beyond. At our last event, the crowd went wild when the Crocker Galleria “cheerleaders” made a surprise appearance–they were so popular, in fact, that we used them again during our 2004 Holiday promotions with equal success!
I look forward to working with The Shoeshine Guild at every opportunity, and I wholeheartedly recommend their wide range of creative services.
Sina von Reitzenstein, Retail Manager – Crocker Galleria
In the numerous times I have worked with the wonderful people at Shine and Co, every event has gone perfectly. During our off site meetings their staff is friendly polite and hard working. They make me look good and better yet, every pair of shoes they touch come out perfect.
Peter Monty, Vice President – DWS Investments
I thoroughly enjoyed your involvement in my convention booth. The shoe shine service that you provided was top-notch and contributed a great deal to the large level of traffic we received at the booth. I knew that the shoe shine service would be a great draw to get attendees to visit our booth and stay for a while. That way, those of us representing Minnesota Life could have full conversations with attendees that might otherwise stop long enough (only) to get a trinket. The free service did exactly that. But the icing on the cake was the joyous conversation that you brought to our guests.
After working with you I have greater expectations going forward. The convention was such a tremendous success, due in large part to your involvement. In addition to my wonderful experience with you in the booth, Kelly raved about how easy you were to work with in terms of coordinating the event… your cooperation and responsiveness.
I’m thankful to you for your outstanding participation in this event, and I hope to have the opportunity to work with you in the future. My colleague is thrilled to work with you in New York.
Mary Docken, Group Life Insurance Marketing Specialist – Minnesota Life
Some Of Our Satisfied Customers Include:
- Associated Entertainment Consultants, Inc.
- Bill Graham Presents
- Blue Frog
- Broadway Studios
- Charles Schwab
- Cisco Systems
- Cushman & Wakefield
- Diageo (Crown Royal, Johnny Walker)
- Dreyfus Financial
- DWS Investments.
- Ernst & Young
- Extraordinary Show Productions
- First Republic Bank
- Giorgio Armani
- Golden Gate Bridge Highway and Transportation Dist.
- Golden State Warriors
- Hanoch McCarty (Chicken Soup for the Soul)
- Innovative Entertainment
- J.P. Morgan
- Johnny Walker
- Learn It!
- McKesson HBOC
- Method 42
- Miller Freeman
- Minnesota Life
- Moody’s KMV
- Oakland Raiders
- Office Depot
- Rick Hearns Productions
- S.F. Giants
- San Francisco Chamber of Commerce
- Securian Financial Group
- SED International
- Service America
- The Freeman Group
- The Great American Music Hall
- The Lurie Company
- The U.S.O. Show
- Thomas Weisel Partners
- U.S. Concepts
- UBS Warburg
- Webby Awards
- William Grant (Hendrick’s Gin)
- Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of America