Cobbler pivots to religious goods to help save business

Larry DeAngelo works in his shop Al's Shoe Service in Mount Prospect on Jan. 13, 2021. When the pandemic hit, DeAngelo's business dried up because people were working from home and didn't need shoe repairs. In an effort to save his business, his daughters, Angela and Alexandria, encouraged him to sell the handmade leather crosses he had been giving to people for years. After a post on Facebook, the effort went viral and now the family sells handmade necklaces, key chains, rosaries, bracelets, chaplets and "fur baby" crosses to raise money to support the business. Al's Shoes was founded by Larry DeAngelo's father 83 years ago. (Karen Callaway/Chicago Catholic)
DeAngelo shines a cross using a shoe machine his father Al purchased in 1946. Each cross is made by hand. (Karen Callaway/Chicago Catholic)
From left, Alexandria, Larry and Angela DeAngelo pose behind the counter at Al’s Shoe Service on Jan. 13. In front of them is a display of products they sell as part of The Cobbler Cross. (Karen Callaway/Chicago Catholic)
DeAngelo stamps the “mark of the Holy Spirit” into the center of a cross. He uses a tool he’s had for 40 years that is made for creating detail in leather. He hammers the tool into the leather three times for the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. (Karen Callaway/Chicago Catholic)
DeAngelo applies conditioner to the leather cross. (Karen Callaway/Chicago Catholic)
Alexandria DeAngelo drills a hole in the cross so she can string it with wax thread. (Karen Callaway/Chicago Catholic)
DeAngelo works on a cross using a shoe machine his father purchased in 1946. (Karen Callaway/Chicago Catholic)
DeAngelo performs a song on his flute in his shop on Jan. 13. A professional flute player, DeAngelo frequently performs for customers. He’s proud to tell anyone that both Cardinal Joseph Bernardin and Cardinal Francis George blessed his flute. (Karen Callaway/Chicago Catholic)
Larry DeAngelo points at the camera as he’s singing “Fly Me To The Moon” by Frank Sinatra in his shop on Jan. 13. (Karen Callaway/Chicago Catholic)