Entrepreneurial Energy Stands Tall at Central Shoe

Entrepreneurial Energy Stands Tall at Central Shoe

The American Dream is whatever you wish it to be for those who make their home at the historic Central Shoe loft apartments in Downtown Springfield, MO.

Day and night, the building still brims with the same creative energy that drove John Sjoberg the ambitious immigrant and entrepreneur who gave the building its name in 1910.

Sjoberg arrived in Springfield in 1888 with no capital and already in debt for his travel fare from his native Sweden, where he had already overcome a number of challenges in his young life.

  • Born in 1866 to an old Swedish family, John was left orphaned by the age of 12 and received little formal schooling.
  • Nevertheless, in the years to come, he became an intelligent conversationalist and savvy businessman through extensive contact with the world and a voracious appetite for books on all subjects.
  • His mastery of the shoe trade, along with a robust self education, led John to establish his own shoe shop after completing his service in the Swedish army.
  • Through sheer energy and ambition, John quickly adapted to his new surroundings after moving to Springfield. He diligently worked for wages for a year and a half, before buying his own small shoe shop.
  • In 1910, John renamed his venture Central Shoe and Leather Company upon moving to a new, expanded location at 325-327 East Walnut Street in the heart of Springfield’s retail district.

The company employed a large number of assistants and a traveling salesman to serve customers throughout Southwest Missouri.

Throughout the early 20th Century, customers purchased shoes from this attractive, well-maintained shoe store and manufacturing plant. The store also offered wholesale leather and shoe repair.

Present-day Central Shoe residents continue this vibrant tradition amidst the eclectic mix of Italianate, Colonial Revival, and Beaux Arts landmarks that fill the Walnut Street Commercial Historic District.

Entertainment awaits at the nearby Landers Theatre, home of Springfield Little Theatre.

Or just a quick trip downstairs invites residents to nourish the mind on new and used books at BookMarx, satisfy the sweet tooth at Urban Cup, or fashion up at Envy.

Central Shoe provides the perfect setting for Springfieldians to build their own American dreams every day while continuing the colorful history that has given the Walnut Street Commercial District a long-standing role in the life of our community for more than a century.

We think Mr. Sjoberg would approve!