2014 marks the 109th anniversary of C.A. Zoes Manufacturing Co since the firm’s founding by Christ A. Zoes in 1905.
The company began by initially marketing shoe care products for use and sale in the Zoes shoe shops in Chicago opened in 1899. The Zoes Shoe Specialty Shops became a chain of retail stores, the flagship being located on State Street in Chicago, the premier retail shopping district at the time. With Italian craftsmen making shoes to order, specialty shoe work offered and custom dyeing of footwear, the shops and main salon quickly became well-known in Chicago serving all the leading department stores and the elite of Chicago.
During the 1900’s the streets of Chicago were not all paved, so well-dressed gentlemen and ladies needed to clean and polish their shoes almost daily. Seeing a market existed for premium shoe care products which were not available at the time, items were introduced to wholesale outlets after 1905. Venetian Shoe Cream became the company’s first product introduced nationally, and is regarded as the first shoe cream in America. Additional items were added and by the 1920’s Zoes and Venetian shoe care products were distributed nationally and internationally and offered a dressing “for every type of shoe”.
In the 1940’s, Paul C. Zoes and Betty Zoes Collias, the founder’s son and daughter, joined the company. Paul Zoes, a graduate Chemist, developed numerous new dyes and finishes, acrylics, and lacquers used throughout the industry to this day. He also continued to expand and improve the many products manufactured for the shoe and allied trades.
In 1970, the legendary Dyanshine Shoe Care line was added with the purchase of the Dyanshine Products Division. The fabled Barton’s Dyanshine Liquid Shoe Polish and Barton’s Dyanshine Paste Wax are part of Americana since they were used extensively by servicemen in both World Wars and by military personnel to this day. Dyanshine shoe care products are distributed nationally and internationally to a wide variety of outlets and continue to enjoy outstanding customer loyalty.
Since 1983, the third generation of the founding family to head Zoes has continued the commitment to produce only the finest shoe care products, formulated from simply the best ingredients available worldwide. Our laboratories continue to offer chemically-advanced products to the US shoe and allied trades and distribute nationally and internationally.
Our Facebook page displays Zoes and Dyanshine memorabilia, vintage packaging, and national advertisements which may be of interest to some viewers. Be sure to “Like” us on Facebook and we always welcome testimonials, reviews, and questions concerning our products.