York Traditions Bank honors history of Haines Shoe Store

York Traditions Bank’s sixth branch opens at 100 N. George St. and will honor the building’s history by holding a shoe drive and a stop along York’s annual Walk-A-Mile In Her Shoes event.

Story paid for by: York Traditions Bank
Written by: Tim Stonesifer
Jim Coombes, manager of the downtown York Traditions Bank branch, places shoes in a display window to help spread the news about the new branch's history and the bank's efforts to impact the community with a shoe drive to benefit LifePath Christian Ministries. (Photo by Paul Chaplin for Our York Media)

Once upon a time a wizard walked the streets of downtown York, a beacon of generosity and kindness.  

York’s “Shoe Wizard” would offer a dollar right now if you’d quit smoking or maybe even just knew his name. He might send your son to Boy Scout camp or find you a deal in one of his local shoe stores, Haines Shoe Co. 

While the legends of Mahlon Haines vary, one thing about him was no mystery: his love of York and a fondness for its people.  

Nearly a century later, York Traditions Bank becomes part of the story when the bank opens its downtown branch this fall inside a building Haines built in 1925.  

The symmetry — the history — is impossible to ignore. 

“Mahlon Haines was very community oriented, and we have a similar set of core values,” says Brad Willow, York Traditions’ Managing Director for Personal and Signature Banking. “We’re very proud to expand our footprint downtown and particularly to do it in Mr. Haines’ beautiful building.” 

Annie Haines, granddaughter of Mahlon Haines, York's "shoe wizard," gets a tour of the new York Traditions Bank branch, where much of the historical integrity of the building was preserved while celebrating its future. (Photos by Paul Chaplin for Our York Media)

‘Connections to the past’ 

For Annie Haines, the repurposing of that five-story hotel building that her grandfather Mahlon had built means that the sort of childhood memories too often lost today – images of a downtown full of hope and hard work – will find new life inside a bank that’s all about building a better tomorrow. 

“I was really pleased to hear York Traditions is keeping the history alive this way,” she says. “These days, sometimes it’s hard to still see those connections to the past.” 

For York Traditions’ associates, the connection lies both in and beneath the numbers. It has everything to do with a shared desire to bring the bank’s longstanding personal service to the city, as well as to help make downtown a better place. 

“I’ve always loved working downtown,” says branch manager James Coombes. “And now we really want the community to feel our presence and the love we have for the city.” 

José D. Colón-Bones, right, visits the branch during First Friday in September. Jim Coombes, center, and Dave Cook with Lifepath Christian Ministries, were excited to kick off the month-long drive to collect shoes to benefit LifePath Christian Ministries. (Photo by Paul Chaplin for Our York Media)

A tradition of giving back 

So, with a nod to the Shoe Wizard, York Traditions will celebrate its latest branch opening by collecting new and gently used shoes to be donated to LifePath Christian Ministries. Men’s work boots are particularly needed, and the hope is to make a positive impact from the start. 

“Giving back to the community is part of the culture at York Traditions Bank,” Coombes says, “and that extends downtown.” 

And speaking of shoes and helping the community: Brad, Jim and many of the Bank’s associates will once again participate in York YWCA’s annual Walk-A-Mile In Her Shoes event during October’s First Friday — a fundraiser that asks men to literally walk one mile in women’s high-heeled shoes. 

The walk’s route through downtown passes the old Haines building, making this year and coming years’ events extra special for associates of the bank.  

Karla Heberlig, Global Communications Lead with Glatfelter, donates a pair of boots and hands them to Gene Draganosky, president and CEO of York Traditions Bank. Boots and other shoes are being collected by York Traditions Bank and will be donated to LifePath Christian Ministries. (Photo by Paul Chaplin for Our York Media)

‘Not just another bank’  

Today, Mahlon Haines’ story is the stuff of local legend: a homegrown company invested in the neighborhoods that nurtured it; shared growth as a business’ sole ambition. 

But it’s no fairytale.  

At York Traditions Bank, they want to play a role in helping businesses, individuals, and community organizations realize their goals and weave their own success stories into York’s history.  

Relationships are the currency. 

“We really want people to know we’re not just another bank,” Willow says. “We put a lot of thought into everything we do for our customers and making a positive difference in their lives.” 

Story paid for by York Traditions Bank

Member FDIC

100 North George Street,  York, PA 17401

Get good news in your inbox: Subscribe and we’ll send you the latest features as well as behind-the-scenes looks of our stories and why each story we publish matters to us and the community.