Coming from an affluent family, Don was originally from Nebraska. During the 1930´s he studied at the Fine Arts Institute of Chicago thinking to become a painter. After the end of WWII he married Barbara and felt in love with Mexico on his honeymoon; he finally decided to move to that country in the late 1940´s. He lived for a while and painted in San Miguel Allende, Guanajuato, but finally he settled down in a little uphill town called Santa Maria de Guido, overseeing the city of Morelia, in the state of Michoacan, Mexico.
Don and Barbara´s love for nature inspired them to install a greenhouse and collected more than 5,000 orchid specimens. Here in Santa Maria de Guido, Don began the manufacture of his furniture in tropical precious woods and other wood products. What started as a little factory in the late 1950´s called SEÑAL, S.A., grew to the point where Don employed more than a hundred skilled craftsmen. Soon Shoemaker became an important milestone of the economic and cultural life of his adopted home. SEÑAL, S.A. brought great wealth and economical boost to the village and Don was well known for his good heart and charity projects.
Don S. Shoemaker delivered furniture pieces to his showrooms in Chicago, Los Angeles, Houston and large cities in Mexico. His designs were very much appreciated by wealthy Mexican families which had complete sets decorating their haciendas and luxury homes.
Due to the expensive manufacturing costs on his tropical woods design pieces, his company, SEÑAL, S.A. profited from the installed equipment to produce a commercial line of colonial style furniture in pine and white cedar for hotels and government offices, etc. The legend says, that his factory used to work 24 hours a day.
During his marriage to Barbara Don had three children, but his son, George, was the only one involved in the business. When Don passed away in May of 1990, George took over and started reproducing Don´s designs under the label of “Arrendadora Shoemaker”. Unfortunately, George was called by God in the early 2000´s and the company disappeared.
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