(Media release from Rome’s Office of Downtown Development):

The Office of Downtown Development would like to wish a Happy 80th Birthday to Joe Murray, owner of Blue Ribbon Shoe Shop, on Monday, July 18th. Joe has spent his life dedicated to both shoes and Downtown Rome.
Murray attributes his longevity in the business to the variety of people he meets. Murray likes to help people and make new friends. He states, “If I didn’t care about people, I’d be gone.”
Murray started working downtown at the age of twelve shining shoes at City Shoe Shop. He then went to the Rome Shoe Hospital, which his brother owned. When his brother passed away in the early 70’s, Murray took over the business. Over the years Murray has worked at the paper mill, fire department, and even cut hair at a barber shop in the Cotton Block.
About 27 years ago, Murray bought Blue Ribbon Shoe Shop from Julius DiPrima, which was located in the 400 block for over 100 years. Murray has operated his business at the current location on 7 W 4th Ave for the last four years.
Murray said, “There’s been a lot of bad times and a whole lot of good times.” Downtown Rome is lucky to have such a kind soul working in the heart of downtown and we hope he continues to for years to come!