Georgios Melissinos, founder of the business, aged 20

Georgios Melissinos, aged 54

Georgios Melissinos established the store in 1920, at 89 Pandrossou St., at the foot of the Acropolis, in the Monastiraki area -adjacent to the ancient agora of Athens. Back then; Monastiraki was the shoe district as well as the only flea market of Athens (today there are hundreds of them everywhere). According to  an American archaeologist, who worked in Athens and used to visit the “Poet Sandal Maker” thirty years ago, Simon (one of Socrates’ friends) ran his own sandal workshop 2,500 years ago on the exact spot where Georgios Melissinos set up shop, back in the 1920s. So the archaeologist kept saying, jokingly, that Melissinos was either the reincarnation of Simon or even Socrates himself.

From the late 20s to the early 50s his workshop produced reproductions of Ancient Greek Sandals for classic productions of The National Theater of Greece. It also made rubber-sole shoes -that were meant for hunters or the working class- in addition to the luxury line of shoes that were designed for the upper classes; the Queen of Greece used to visit the store in order to buy her climbing shoes in person. When Georgios Melissinos passed away, in 1954, his son Stavros inherited a business that was on the verge of a serious disaster, due to the political and economic turmoil in post-war Greece. The first tourists appeared, in the early 50s, like a much-needed drizzle in an arid land and among them was that unknown foreign elegant lady, who looked like a goddess from a pediment. That goddess-looking lady (who was a choreographer) placed an order for the very first six pairs of Greek sandals since the fall of the Ancient Athenian Republic and then the Beatles came… and then… well, the rest is history!