CPAC participants enjoyed a particularly rare service at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center: The simple shoe shine.
Dino Wright, manager and owner of the shoe-shine booth, has worked at the hotel since it opened five years ago.
CPAC and events like it boost business for Wright. He says he thinks it’s because he “provides a very important service to this very image-conscious group.”
Wright began shining shoes after the airline he once worked for defaulted on its pension obligations, driving him to find a source of income in retirement.
“I was able to create a pension for myself by creating an entrepreneurial activity,” Wright says. He noticed that fewer people were entering the shoe-shining profession, and “I saw that as an entrepreneurial opportunity” – an ethic that sits well with the CPAC crowd.
At events like CPAC, Wright says he’s polished the shoes of some heavy hitters. But—especially at this conference, which seemed to put an emphasis on up-and-coming conservative leaders—Wright takes an appealingly egalitarian attitude to power.
“Everyone’s a VIP in my chair,” he says. And here, “They’re all as interesting as the last.”