Kevin Tuohy of A Shine & Co.
Taking a short break from ogling the sheer variety of men's clothing, accessories, and shoes on display led to one of the most pleasant experiences that I had while at the MRket trade show.
Saphyr, the makers of some truly amazing shoe care products, set up a shine stand that was manned by two gurus, Kevin Tuohy (Founding Partner) and KeaLani Lada (Managing Partner, Sales/Marketing East Coast) of A Shine & Co. Last year, Vanity Fair bestowed the title of "world's best shoeshine" on this outfit and, based on my experience the other day, they're certainly a worthy contender for that title.
Exhibiting an intimate knowledge of leather care, particularly how to polish areas of the shoe to accentuate or heighten the burnishing (note: a bit of black polish helped to do just that on my Edward Green Brendons for Ralph Lauren's Purple Label (basically a Dover boot with 3-blind eyelets that you can see here), Ms. Lada took me to school on how to give my shoes a great shine by using a variety of colored polishes. Needless to say, I think she may have cured me of my embarrassing over-reliance on Saphyr's Renovateur and Neutral polish.
A Shine & Co. is based out of San Francisco, with locations that include the Bank of America building and the Crocker Galleria. The lone New York outpost is way out at JFK Airport - sadly too far for me to venture out to regularly - but I already find myself offering rides to the airport to casual acquaintances. Aside from B. Nelson on 55th street, I don't know of anyone else using Saphyr for shines here in New York City - so that alone would easily put A Shine & Co. a few notches above the competition here.
Contemplating the utter lack of decent shoe shine options in midtown, Ms. Lada mentioned that Will Boehlke of A Suitable Wardrobe was a regular back in San Francisco, and its really not hard to see why (you can read his review of A Shine & Co. here). With three locations for Will to choose from, I'll just quietly simmer with envy as I wait for an outpost to reach the shores of Manhattan . . .