Our beloved Jesse Velazquez, who was a manager, mentor, and a dear friend to many of us at Sockshop & Shoe Company, sadly passed on May 23, 2022.
He was an incredible person. Words cannot express how heartbroken we are to lose him. Jesse managed Sockshop Santa Cruz on the Wharf for several years, but he was the heartbeat of the downtown Sockshop & Shoe Company store prior to that. If you know Jesse, you remember his warm "hey buddy" greeting and genuine love for everyone. He had the ability to make anyone feel comfortable--like they were part of his family--within a few moments of meeting. He brought a refreshing honesty to the retail environment, never making promises he couldn't keep and always keeping it real with his customers. He took pride in keeping the stores full of fun and cool vintage toys and trinkets to give our customers instant nostalgia and a sense of playfulness. You could always hear him singing along to the oldies or the 70s rock we play at work in his endearing half-California-half-New Jersey accent. He also had the best style! Always looking effortlessly cool with his sneakers and a cap. What a legend he is and what a legacy he leaves behind.
Jesse was fond of a saying that goes, "It takes a minute to find a special person, an hour to appreciate them, a day to love them, and an entire life to forget them".
He was a great judge of character just by feeling people out, giving them the respect he thought they deserved and counting on people to rise to the occasion. He encouraged us to put good out in the world in order to get good back. He told us he loved us and he proved it every time with his generosity, loyalty, and selflessness. He was grateful for us and said "thank you" and he gave us treats and snacks and rides home. He said "good job" and "I'm proud of you" like a true mentor that knows those words don't fall on deaf ears. He was an amazing listener, who actually cared very deeply about what you said.
We are inspired by his approach and style, and hope to preserve his memory by being authentic with anyone we meet or do business with. We miss you, buddy. We are so lucky we got to know you in this life. You will always be in our hearts and on our minds and we will never forget you.