Stephen Randolph and a friend stand in front of Chambers on Slauson. (Courtesy photo)



Stephen Randolph is a third-generation owner of Chambers, a shoe repair shop established in 1955 on S. Central Ave. Later, a second Chambers location opened in 1988 on Slauson Ave., the place that gave late rapper, entrepreneur, and activist Nipsey Hussle his first job. 

Randolph was born into the shoe repair business, and his family had him around the trade from an early age. He recalls growing to love Chambers around the age of 17, and by 21 years old, he officially took over the second location in Slauson. 

The business name “Chambers” came from Randolph’s mother’s maiden name; her father, Thomas Chambers, was the founder. Randolph noted that he and his family have had to overcome adversity as an intergenerational business. They have overcome civil unrest in the 1960s, the 1990s, and the 2020 pandemic.  

Randolph also mentioned financial challenges, which he said are typical for small businesses, and how family rifts such as death and divorce took a toll on him. However, Chambers still stands strong today and plays a significant role in the community.   

“Being in the community has been extremely rewarding. Being around as long as we have been, you meet a full spectrum of people. I have had the pleasure of helping three generations of the same family. That’s a feeling like no other. I’ve had the opportunity to do work for numerous celebrities and people of note, but my true passion is helping the average person and making their day,” Randolph said. 

When reflecting on his community connection to Nipsey Hussle and giving him his first job many years ago, Randolph said It was amazing to follow Hussle’s arc, that he was an incredible human being, and it was and is an honor to be a part of his beginnings. 

“I attribute our longevity to good old-fashioned hard work. Shoe care is not the most glamorous business and is not easy by any means. Also, trust– you don’t last more than 60 years without developing trust and a solid reputation,” Randolph said. 

His advice for other Black entrepreneurs is to “have a plan, stay focused, be diligent, be patient, and love what you do.” 

Chambers is recently affiliated with the city of L.A.’s Legacy Business Program, which celebrates and supports the “visibility, history and sustainability of Legacy Businesses, small businesses that have been operational for 20 years or more,” according to their website.  

Randolph said he is thankful to them for involving his business and is excited to see what they can do together.