Remembering beloved Harpenden shoe shop retailer

Victor Keshishian.

Victor Keshishian. - Credit: Archant

Tributes have been paid to a much-loved Harpenden retailer who fitted shoes for the town’s children over 42 years.

Victor and John Keshishian of Galloways shoe shop, Harpenden.

Victor and John Keshishian of Galloways shoe shop, Harpenden. - Credit: Archant

Victor Keshishian, who ran T Galloway Ltd shoe shop in Bowers Parade with his brother John, passed away on April 9 aged 79.

After immigrating to the UK from Cyprus in 1960, Victor worked in various retail roles until he and his brother bought Galloways from original owner Tom Galloway in November 1974, and the shop thrived until their retirement in July 2017.

Victor is survived by his three children – Sylvie, Charles and Anie.

His family said: “Victor took pride in being a member of the community and serving his customers. Through his years at the shoe shop, he served generations of families, many of whom knew him very well.

John and Victor Keshishian in Galloways shoe shop, Harpenden.

John and Victor Keshishian in Galloways shoe shop, Harpenden. - Credit: Archant

“Victor’s kindness, patience, honesty and humility gained him much respect in the local community, and along with his brother John, these qualities were recognised with the Harpenden Town Mayor’s Certificate of Merit in recognition of his contribution to the economy of the town and long service to the community.”

Town Mayor Cllr Brian Ellis said: “I would like to pay tribute to Victor Keshishian, who was a highly regarded member of our town. VIctor and John’s charm, care and high standard of customer service are well remembered by generations of parents and children who visited the shop.

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“At this challenging time we are reminded of the value of coming together and supporting each other and Mr Keshishian was a great example of that community spirit.”

Michael Weaver, a former town councillor, and the owner of C&A in the town, said: “As a fellow retailer just along the road from their lovely shoe shop, Galloways, I knew Victor and his brother very well. Their shop could well be described as probably the most friendly shop in our town.

“The kind and caring service they gave particularly to children of all ages I can only describe as incredible. When they were not serving people they would greet literally everyone passing their shop with a really happy smile and a lovely “hello”. They loved their customers and in turn their customers loved them.

“Victor struggled in recent years as his health declined but he still kept smiling. Harpenden lost so much when Galloways closed. Victor epitomised all the best in the part that a small retailer can play in a community. Our community can simply say thank you for all he did in his cheerful way to make our lives feel better.”

Cllr Mary Maynard said: “Victor Keshishian was a pillar of the Harpenden High Street, much beloved by all who knew him. He and his brother ran Galloways for decades and generations of children were fitted with shoes there, over time bringing their own kids in to continue the tradition.

“Victor always had a kind word for everyone and made shopping a pleasure. He will be missed by the whole community and our condolences go to his family and many friends.”

Ron Taylor, who runs the Harpendia website, added: “Harpenden was renowned for Galloways - Victor always brought a smile to everyone’s face in passing the shop - remembering everyone’s names and even their children.

“New shoes can sometimes be a daunting visit for children but not when Galloways was open for service - children felt special and it was a privilege to be served by either Victor or John. Kindness is always passed on and even our grown-up children remember with fondness their shop.”

The family has set up an online tribute page for anyone wishing to remember Victor via the Facebook page ‘In memory of Victor Harpenden’. Alternatively, cards can be sent to: Victor Keshishian, PO Box 1282, Harpenden, AL1 9EA.

Contributions to the charity Parkinson’s UK would be appreciated by the family.

For all donations, please quote the Tribute Fund unique number 820159 in the name of Vartkes Keshishian. Donations can be made in the following ways:

- by phone using a credit or debit card on 0800 138 6593

- by cheque payable to Parkinson’s UK and please include a small note quoting the Tribute Fund number. Post to Parkinson’s UK, 215 Vauxhall Bridge Road, London SW1V 1EJ.

- online with a credit or debit card or PayPal

Press the yellow DONATE button on the top right of the link. Where it says “My donation is in memory of” please write Vartkes Keshishian 820159.