It was 1926 and three years before the start of the Great Depression.
It was also the year the Giamalva family decided to open Palace Shoe Service in downtown Rockford.
"They fixed a lot of shoes for people with the promise that they would maybe come back and pay for them. People didn't have a lot of money," said Tom Giamalva.
At the time the store wasn't that unique. There were around 75 shoe repair shops in the Rockford. Today there are only two.
The Giamalva's beat the odds, and 91 years later the shop continues to stay in the family with brothers Tom and Dave and father Lou.
"If you look at our machinery you'll notice there's not much that has changed," Lou Giamalva said.
Walk into the store today and it's like walking into a museum.
Many of the machines have been around decades.
But customers can still count on the same service they received years ago.
"They're just great to deal with so I keep coming," said customer Don Lyon.
Customers can buy a new set of shoes, all American made, get their shoes polished, and get them repaired.
"I'm sure some look at it that they can buy a new pair of shoes. Well, if you have a pair that are broken, they're comfortable, then repair them and enjoy them," Lyon said.
Keeping shoes looking good and feeling good is what the Giamalva's thrive for.
While the shoe repair industry may not be what it once was, the Giamalva's know everybody likes a good pair of shoes, and if they can make them better that will keep customers coming back for years to come.