The shop building at 2449-2455 W. Main St. is associated with the early commercial development of Downtown Littleton. Built in the early 1900s, it was the site of a variety of businesses, including a millinery (hat) shop, bakery, dress shop, lunchroom, real estate office, loans and insurance company, and hobby shop. Available records show the P & L Millinery in the building from 1905 through at least 1914. Veto’s Shoe Shop was in the east storefront of this building by 1957. By 1965, Marty’s Barber Shop was on the west storefront. Veto’s and Marty’s actually stayed in that location until 2001.
Veto La Rocco first opened his shoe repair shop in Littleton in December 1929, not an auspicious time to be starting a new business. Seventy years later, the business was still operating and had seen three La Rocco generations and four different Main Street locations. In 1929, Veto purchased the Childs Brothers Shoe Shop and opened his business in Littleton.
Veto La Rocco’s second location came about in 1938 when he bought the property immediately west of Town Hall from Ernest Hayes of Littleton Gas and Oil. (When La Rocco bought it, the tenant was the Connett Bakery.) La Rocco quickly razed that building and replaced it with a modern brick building. He used one side for his shoe shop and the Connett Bakery used the other side. Later in 1938, Veto bought the building at 2449 W. Main St. and rented it to several other shopkeepers, including the Gambles Store.
Veto’s son, Tony, returned to the family business in 1963. It was his idea to change its name to Veto’s Shoe Repair and Western Wear, and he decided to add a line of boots and hats. By 1972, Tony’s son, Steve La Rocco, was also working in the shop. Veto continued to come in almost every day to keep his hand in the business and say hello to his many friends.
The building’s façade was restored to the original 1920s-era look in 2010. This restoration removed all exterior remnants of Veto’s shoe store. A minimal interior restoration left most of the original finishes intact, offering a great feel for the early 20th-century building commercial interiors.
The Havener Millinery/Veto’s Shoe Repair was added to the Littleton Main Street Historic District in 2005 as a contributing building.
Learn more about the La Rocco family here: La Rocco Family, littletongov.org.