“I seem to have been in Headingley for ever.” So says Steve who has worked here for over 30 years and is a familiar face to the many people who visit his shoe repair and key cutting shop in the heart of Headingley town centre.
Starting out at Mr Minit, the shoe repairers then located in the Arndale Centre, Steve learnt all the necessary skills on the job. “Despite leaving school at 17 without any qualifications, I found being a cobbler an easy job to learn. When Mr Minit closed I moved to work in the shoe repair shop here on Otley Road. Then 14 years ago we bought the owner out, and me and my wife Lindsey set up our own family business here.”
Cobblers are one of the world’s oldest professions and played a vital role in everyone’s lives. Originally they made customised shoes as well as repairing and restoring them. Many are still going strong. Like Steve they have diversified into other leather work including mending bags, belts, luggage, plus selling shoe care and other small items. Steve also offers a comprehensive key cutting service while you wait, and also metal engraving for name plates and plaques.
“I am a perfectionist, totally honest, and will tell you straight if your shoes can’t be properly mended. Many modern shoes are cheap and the quality is not great. It could cost more to repair than replace them.” He is widely acknowledged as offering a very friendly and highly rated service and he is proud of his work. “I often take in shoes other cobblers won’t do. It is excellent to restore, recycle and make good people’s old, comfortable and loved shoes.”
“Every shoe is different and needs its own treatment. It could be mending a broken heel, filling holes, replacing worn out soles, getting rid of wrinkles, waterproofing, whatever.” To do this Steve needs to cut, stitch, patch, fill holes, glue, seal and polish. He uses a variety of tools and machinery to help achieve this. He also advises his customers on shoe care to help them last longer.
Steve loves Headingley. “It gives me a warm feeling, there’s no trouble, and people of every age, and from every country and creed come into the shop. It is the quality of the work that is important to my customers and then they keep coming back.”
30 Otley Road
Tel : 01132741110
Mob : 07711747380
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