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2036 the last shoe repair shop will close

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does anybody have any views on when the shoe repair trade will finish,

because in bristol im sure im the youngest cobbler (aged 30)no one ever

takes on trainees no more.So when we all get to 60plus there will be no

left to carry on the trade.


what the situation like in your area and do you think the trade will be over

in 30-40 years.

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My youngest trainee is 6! Ross can now fully operate my computer and engrave pet tags!


There is so much talk about trade dyeing of, long term future etc. But you only have to look at our shop to see we will continue evolving in one form or another.

This trade has massive investments with in it, very healthy in my view, and I hope to still be here the day I retire.



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you could be right ,in Coventry there is 3 timpson`s and 9 independents the youngest being early to mid 40`s since i have opened 3 have closed one was a minit in a johnson`s but did re-open with a independent and one more is closing this year when there lease run`s out all the inderpendents only have 1 person in there shop`s

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I've been hearing this for the last 25 years. The trade has changed, I'll give you that. But in my opinion, the Independants and therefore, the shoe repair trade as we know it, is firmly in the hands of all you guys out there. :roll:


Offer the service, do it well, in well presented, contemporary shops and I'm sure the trade will continue. Let it slide into dingy old shops offering half the services of the multiples, of which there are many, and it will surely die :shock:


Now you guys know that won't happen!!!



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Words of wisdom Kieth.


Here is my prediction.

When Stilettoes dissapear so will 30% of repairers offering just repairs/keys as in the Heel bar situation, graduating over a 10 year period. Traditional repairers of the old school will still get by but only just as the majority of work will be of the Remedial type, Ski hooks Gussets Zips etc.


Multiples will be using cenral workshops more as less new employees will have the skills for shoe repairs, those skills that they do get will be for simple jobs.


The profits from repairs will not be as they are now as there will be less manufacturing due to falling demand, costs will therefore be higher as the materials used will be in much larger sizes.


Unless you can diversify (and you need to start now) I would be looking at a change of direction and selling my business just when it has reached the maximum turnover before the fashion changes.


Multiples will survive and probably get busier due to the failed opposition and the variety of new services that will come on line in later years.

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Heres my prediction!


Started out just a cobbler (as most) in 86 :cry: , started shop in 89' :) learnt to cut keys, engrave, watch repair etc etc. :D this is the norm, not the exception.


Unless you can diversify (and you need to start now)


We already have! Trade is good, :D :lol: and good for the majority. I think it would do us all a bit of good if shoe repairs slowed, then we can spend more time doing the jobs that really pay the bills! its not the beer that pays the bills in the cobblers arms but the food served!


prediction - 20 years, I will still be here along with new competition! :wink:


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i think alot of you are missing the point i was trying to make,i dont think

the trade will die out. I just think that there is no young cobblers coming

into the trade,in bristol im the youngest at 30,earlsdoncobbler said the

youngest in coventry was 40.I dont know what its like in your area try

and find out the youngest cobbler in your area.In bristol a couple of

shoe repairs have just colsed because of retirement and no one to replace


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There is always a thinning out process in the trade where there have been too many cobblers in one area and as the lease runs out, they close. This has been going on for years.


I see this as a healthy occurance as most of these shops are old, have lacked investment for years and are certainly not attractive to any potential buyers. Therefore, a bonus to any other cobbler nearby who does take an interest in the way he presents his business!



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It aint all doom Rick, just that some have an insight to developments that others do not have.

In amongst the Doom & Gloom are opportunities to be grasped by those with developing minds, or the ability to create a niche where none exists.


There are several opportunities for those that can specuialise but most are just products of Multiples with no real development skills of their own.

It is these that will fall by the wayside when the times become rough, (seen it twice now) this time is going to be harder than the last as most avenues have been traversed.


You follow leaders, but this time the leaders have no new leads worth speaking of, so you wont be able to start cutting Keys like last time(those who can remember).

Watch repairs will be done by all the market traders and uncle tom Cobbly and all, so margins will be tight unless you are offering a service that they can not, or be in a position to capture passing trade.


There is still going to be a high demand for top quality leather work for the named fashion brands but are you capable of restoring them to the original spec with long soles, or are you going to be the clump it / chop it off brigade who cant manage a decent through sole and will therefore only get one chance to keep the customer. (no referece to the standards being produced at the moment).


The Machinery manufacturers have seen it all before too and will have learned valuable lessons from the last time.

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  • 10 months later...

Well in response to Bristolcobbler's original post (almost 1 year late :lol: )


I am 18 and have been in the trade since I left school aged 16.


I don't know of anyone else in the trade under the age of 30!


In all honesty, (speaking from a young person's perspective) I don't think it's a "glamorous" sounding prospect/career anymore (This is not to say it is not proliferant). I think this is mainly due to people's misinterpretations of what the job entails. I think the public are misinformed in this respect.


I doubt the thought of becoming a shoe repairer; key cutter; engraver; would have crossed my mind at the age of 16 had it not been for my father being in the trade.


I do, however, thoroughly enjoy my job and am thankful I chose this career path.


I also agree with points above regarding the importance of the multi-service aspect, and the need to diversify/explore new avenues.


This is what keeps the job interesting IMO when you are alternating between shoes, keys & engraving (bit of a juggling act at times!).


Sorry to drag up an old topic :oops:

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There is still alot of money to made in this game as long as you move with the times.

We offer a wide range of services, Shoe Repairs, Key Cutting, Engraving with Trophy Sales, Watch Repairs, Luggage and Gift sales. Die Sub Gifts.


We are just about to open a new shop. I have also just taken on a 23year old who is very keen to learn the trade.


I feel young people don't want to join this trade as they still have the image of an old cobbler in a dirty run down shop. Which in most cases ins't true.


Just my thoughts....

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