Lunchtime tourist

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January 31, 2005 // UPDATED 1:51 pm - April 26, 2007
By: Linda Koutsky
Linda Koutsky

Mike's Plaza VII Shoe Repair

45 S. 7th St., skyway level

In case you've missed the phenomenal amount of publicity on Minnetonka Moccasin, this week's column will provide a chance for you to learn about - and hopefully support - two Minnesota companies.

On the busy skyway level of Plaza VII is a small shoe repair store. Hanging in the floor-to-ceiling windows are tins of wax, bottles of polish and a million kinds of shoelaces.

Owner Mike King has been in business here for 16 years. He knows his shoes. And with this vast experience, he decided to sell only one brand of shoes for his customers. Tucked into the corner window, it's hard to miss Minnetonka Moccasin's distinctive red-and-black logo repeated over and over again on numerous stacks of shoeboxes. Somehow there's enough room at Mike's to carry 40 different styles of Minnetonka Moccasins for infants, kids and adults, too.

In fact, Mike's Plaza VII Shoe Repair sells so many of these shoes that he's Downtown's leader in sales for this Minnesota shoe company.

Minnetonka Moccasin began manufacturing shoes in 1946. Their Native-American-style footwear was a hit in the 1950s and '60s, selling in souvenir shops in small Minnesota towns and across the country in national parks. David Miller, the founder's grandson, runs the Northeast-Minneapolis-based company.

Today Minnetonka Moccasin's beaded Thunderbird shoe, which was first manufactured in the 1970s, is "the latest" among celebrities. Articles have appeared in the Wall Street Journal and "Elle," "Vogue" and "People" magazines. Drew Barrymore, Kate Hudson, Courtney Cox Arquette, and Victoria Secret models have been spotted wearing the retro-chic moccasins. If you hurry to Mike's, he might still have a pair left in your size.

LUNCH TIP: Minnesota-made deli D. Brian's offers sandwiches and coffee next door to Mike's in Plaza VII.

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