February 4, 1984 – Amati’s Shoe Boutique closed its doors for the last time after operating for more than six years on Main Street.

Looking uphill towards commercial buildings. A two-tank water tower towers over the shops

The Main Street Courtyard Buildings, 1977-1984. Buildings on Albion Street in Mendocino at the north end of the Main Street Courtyard. The sign in the yard reads, “Amati’s Mendocino.” Amati’s Shoe Store occupied the lower floor of the building on the right, between 1977 and 1984. After Amati’s closed, Ed O’Brien moved his Compass Rose Leather Shop from its Ukiah Street location into this space. The building was constructed in 1961 by Bill Zacha, founder of the Mendocino Art Center, as the Mendocino Laundromat, which operated until 1977.

Amati’s owner JoAnne Sorensen opened her shoe store in the former laundromat building next to the Albion Street water tower in August 1977. JoAnne told the Beacon, “I’m trying to get things that are different, and still uphold my standards of fit, feel and feet. I try and go for comfort. I try to think of the feet and not get things in that are excessively high that are not good for the feet.” She was a dedicated shop owner who personally tried on a pair of each shoe that she offered before they were put on display, so she would know how well they would fit her customers. JoAnne stocked Bort Carleton shoes and boots, Rockports, Natural Comfort dress shoes, Swedish orthopedic clogs, Mexican huaraches, work boots, a medium priced men’s line called Paerino, along with wonderful soft leather and woven purses and interesting socks.

The former Salinas resident learned the shoe business while helping a roommate who owned a shoe store. JoAnne would go with her roommate to shoe shows and on other buying trips. ‘I’d help her pick out shoes. . . And here I am,” she laughed.

JoAnne was particularly interested in serving the local residents and said she was happy to listen to their ideas on items her store should carry. Over the next six years, Amati’s was very supportive of local community activities and events, which included sponsorship for athletes in the first Mendocino Triathlon organized by David Russell, Ed O’Brien, and Phil Spazek in 1982.

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