Three firms have submitted proposals for contracts to operate shoeshine stands at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport.
It's the first time in 17 years that the Atlanta airport has contracted out the shoeshine stands.
Officials at the world's busiest airport plan to more than double the number of shoeshine stands, and split up the work between two new contracts. The new contracts would replace the contract now held by longtime Atlanta airport shoeshine business Master Shine, which has stands at Terminal South, Terminal North and concourses A and B.
Last week, Master Shine and two other firms -- Goodfellows Shoeshine of Las Vegas and local shoeshine business Final Touch Shoes -- submitted proposals to compete for the two contracts, according to the city of Atlanta's procurement department.
The proposals were due Wednesday, but Master Shine's proposals were initially not recorded as submitted. An accountant for Master Shine said the proposals had been submitted early.
The city's procurement department was initially not able to locate the Master Shine proposals. The project's contracting officer later said Master Shine had submitted proposals, and that the city verified the tracking number and updated the list of companies that submitted bids, including Master Shine.
An online campaign to raise donations for Master Shine and Charles Sanders, a shoeshiner and co-owner of Master Shine, attracted nearly $6,000 in online donations. Other in-kind contributions included consulting work to help Master Shine prepare the proposals to compete for a contract.
"It was essential that he competed for that contract," said La Detra White, who lives in Decatur and organized the fundraising effort.
But other shoeshine firms also see opportunity at Hartsfield-Jackson.
Final Touch Shoes operates shoeshine stands elsewhere in Atlanta and is eyeing the airport for expansion.
Goodfellows Shoeshine CEO Shelley Bonner-Carson said her company has "taken this [shoeshine] business to another level," and her goal is to be in every major U.S. airport.