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New shoe shiners a threat to the veterans

If you are in the City centre and your shoes are dusty, you need not worry much because you can easily spot a shoe-shiner.

Shoe-shining seems to be the latest craze in town. Every corner you turn to in the CBD, you can be sure to find a shoe cleaner’s kiosk.

“We were very few just months ago. Customers could flock this place but things are changing really fast,” said Mr James Mogaka, the owner of Professional Shoe Shiners at Jeevanjee Gardens.

In a day, Mr Mogaka could serve approximately 120 clients and earn not less than Sh4,500.

This has however changed because of competition, which he described as unfair.

“The new shoe shiners are charging far much less than the previous prices,” said Mr Kelvin Ong’eta, an employee at Professional Shoe Shiners.

That makes them make adjustments to stay in the field.

“We are forced to reduce our charges from our initial Sh40 to between Sh20 and Sh30 and even with that, only our loyal clients come,” he added.

Mr John Odhiambo is one such customer.

“I don’t go to the new shoe shiners because I have been coming here for years. Besides, who wants to be constantly dodging the county askaris?” he asked. 

As much as they are giving the veterans a run for their money, the new entrants have a rough time too. One, who only identified himself as Mwangi, said it all.

“For now, I don’t make much money to get a licence. I am sure I will eventually buy the document to avoid this everyday cat and mouse game with the county authorities,” said Mr Mwangi.