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Downtown Indy Inc. starts GoFundMe after death of Cento Shoes co-owner

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Downtown Indy Inc. is leading a fundraiser after the death of an owner and operator of a longtime downtown shoe business, with hopes to help the man’s family and keep the business running.

Tony Cento died Wednesday at the age of 50, according to his obituary. He graduated from Roncalli High School and the Kelly School of Business at IUPUI. He is survived by his wife, mother, son, daughter and brother.

Tony and his brother, Mike Cento, took over Cento Shoes from their father, Paul, an Italian immigrant who opened the store in 1971 at 33 S. Meridian St., where it still stands. They sell and repair shoes and other leather goods.

News 8’s Nina Criscuolo talked to Tony and Mike about their work in 2016, as shoe repair shops were closing around the country.

“Everything. It’s your life,” Tony told her while helping a customer. “It’s just nice to know you can take worn out shoes and just start over with them and let people get more life out of their shoes.”

On the GoFundMe page, Downtown Indy Inc. said the business community was saddened by Tony’s “untimely and tragic death.” The funds raised will go to assisting the family with funeral arrangements and to help sustain the family business, the post said. On Monday, more than $30,000 had been raised.

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