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New digs for much-loved Vance's Shoe Repair [Ellicott City]

After 42 years, Vance's Shoe Repair in the Normandy Shopping Center has moved to a new location in the 4900 block of Waterloo Road, in Ellicott City (next to T-Bonz restaurant).

Clarence and Janet Vance opened the shoe repair shop that became a landmark in Howard County. In 1984, the Vance's son-in-law Paul McMickings took over the shop and continued to build a legion of loyal customers based on the Vance's motto "treat customers like family."

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When McMickings passed away from cancer in 2013, the Vance's daughter Gerry Thierer, who had helped out in the store since she was a young girl,  took over the business.

"It was a big decision to keep the store open after Paul died but we have the best clientele in the world. I love my customers. They are such wonderful people," said Thierer.

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A year later came more bad news — Normandy Shopping center decided to redevelop the site and informed all its tenants that their leases would not be renewed. It was bittersweet news for Thierer, especially so close to Paul's passing.

But again, Thierer continued to make the commitment to stay connected to the community that "has been so good to my family over so many years" by relocating to a new spot in Ellicott City. Before moving to the new location, Thierer donated a truck full of unclaimed shoes and items, that have been left over the years, to the Christian Service's Thift store in Ellicott City.

"I chose to donate to Christian Service's Thrift shop because I knew they help local people by working through 28 churches. Our family has been so blessed to have our store here in Howard County and we wanted this donation to benefit the community that has been so kind to us," Thierer said.

Good luck Gerry and the Vance family in your new Ellicott City location.

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Here's inspiration to clean out your garage and closets before the holidays — Andrea Ciniero and her family are hosting their 17th annual holiday collection for needy families in Crum, W.Va.  On Friday, Dec. 5, starting at 3 p.m., through Saturday, Dec. 6, at 3 p.m., the Ciniero family will collect donations to fill a 50-foot truck parked in front of their home at 4925 Ellis Lane in Ellicott City.

The community is welcome to drop off gently used clothes; furniture; household items; appliances that are in working condition; nonperishable food; and, most importantly, children's toys.

The donations will be loaded onto the truck and transported to Crum, a town located on the border of Kentucky where the average household income is $15,449 a year. Donations can be made in plastic bags or boxes with tops. For more information, go to the Crum, West Virginia, Charity Event Facebook page or contact Andrea Ciniero by phone at 410-788-1406.

Doreen Klose, Ilchester Woods Community Association president, informed me the association held a recent Chili Cook-off to promote community spirit at the home of Beth and Richard Roberts. Congratulations to the Chili Cook-off winners — MaryJo Roberts (1st place), Lisa and John Kundrat (2nd place), and Rebecca and Josh Benson (3rd place).

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