Soles or souls, or both!

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Seven-year-old La’Keilee Watson of Pontotoc enjoyed her first news assignment with Romelle Matthews, owner of Matthews Shoe Repair in Tupelo. To her question, he responded, “My favorite shoes to work with are made of leather because they are easier to work with, especially when it comes to dying them.”
Annette works to reinforce a customer’s work boots.
Romelle Matthews repairs heels on a customer’s favorite pair of boots.
Romelle Matthews with his business manager of three years, Cora Flemons and his wife and business partner, Annette.

JA Staff Report
For Romelle Matthews, the answer is the latter. He strives daily to live the words of Matthew 22:37-39: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself.”

The former chief of police of West Point, MS is living out his high school dream of being a cobbler, not only in word, but in deed. The ole story of the cobbler awaiting a visit from the Lord as he fed the hungry and clothed the naked who came to his shoe shop, may be just a fable, but for Romelle being compassionate is the only way to live for Christ.

“I thank the Lord for this blessing. This shoe repair shop is a place where I can practice my faith. Just think of it. I can help repair souls as well as soles; help heal broken hearts in addition to repairing broken heels. Right here, working all day, my wife, Netta and I have opportunity after opportunity to mend more than shoes,” he said. “I wanted to open a business that was lacking in the community. Providing a service people need means so much to me. It’s a way of giving back as well as thanking Mr. Dennis for teaching me the trade so many years ago when I was in high school.”

It should be noted that Romelle, now 58, was a standout football player at Greenwood High School and during his college career at Tennessee State University. Romelle has plans to start the conversation of instituting shoe repair at area high schools that offer trade and industrial education.

Throughout Matthews Shoe Repair, located at 628 N. Gloster Street in Tupelo, MS there are signs that reflect his love of God and his neighbor. One poster in particular reads: “God has given us eyes not to judge others but to look beyond situations; a mouth not to criticize but to speak truth; hands not to punish but to give a helping hand; and ears not to be insensitive but to listen and aid those in pain. Everything God gave us has its purpose. Use them for the greater glory of the Lord.”