Bank Street Cobbler
193 Bank St.
New London, CT 06320
Chris Armoutsoglou, owner of Bank Street Cobbler, knows about shoes. He’s been in the cobbler business for 40 years and he knows what he is talking about. He said that first you have to buy good shoes. You have to buy good leather and avoid man-made materials. “Man-made materials that look like leather are like plastic and not good for your feet.“ He also pointed out that you need to clean and polish shoes and take care of them like you would your clothes. “Doing this keeps your shoes lasting longer,” he explained.
The Cobbler’s Corner
246 E Main St., Suite 1
Clinton, CT 06413
Michael Cartwright, owner of The Cobbler’s Corner, advises using the right kind of conditioner for shoes including beeswax. He also suggests waterproofing shoes. In addition to being a cobbler, he is a pedorthist. He recalled one special challenge; “I had to fix the shoes of a motorcycle crash victim who ended up with one leg shorter than the other. This meant building up the inside as well as the outside of one of the shoes to relieve pressure. If the shoe was too heavy, the customer wouldn’t be able to lift his foot. Happily, it worked out perfectly.”
Dave’s Cobbler Shoppe
19 W. Main St.
Vernon Rockville, CT 06066
When it comes to taking care of your shoes, Dave Vallee of Dave’s Cobbler Shoppe said, “You get what you pay for. Make sure there’s a good arch,” he warned. “If the shoe supports your foot well, then your tendons will not be abused.” He also pointed out that some of his business is influenced by fashion as well as need. He currently has in his shop a pair of eight-inch heels. High heels are all the rage, today. When people come in for repairs, Dave asks two questions: are the shoes really comfortable and are they replaceable. If they are comfortable, but not replaceable, then he is the man for the job. “I do all aspects of the trade,” he said.
15 Danbury Road
Ridgefield, CT 06877
How well does Daniel Abruzzi know the cobbler business? “I could fix shoes blindfolded,” he said, pointing out that he has been in the business since 1978. He described his clientele as high end and said that many are into horseback riding, which means he works on a lot of riding boots. He advises his customers who polish their shoes every week to get them stripped of the wax every six months. This is one of many services he offers. “Leather has to breathe,” explained Abruzzi. “Wax clogs up the pores.” As with most cobblers, Abruzzi also repairs other items including replacing zippers on a pocketbook, “It’s challenging because you have to glue them in place before stitching them or they will move all over the place. “
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196 Crown St.
New Haven, CT 06510
When Macy’s was just down the street, Papken Mahserejian, owner of Kelly’s Cobbler, used to do a lot of business with women’s high heels. “The sales women used to come in all the time,” he said. When it comes to caring for shoes, this cobbler recommends getting all the right accessories. I have shoe stretchers, laces, creams and lotions. You name it and I have it,” he said regarding shoe care. He also has a lot of orthopedic clients who are very loyal. “They come in with a prescription from the doctor and I take such good care of them that they keep coming back to me.” One of the most interesting challenges that he has experienced was working on a special pair of shoes that was completely made by hand in India. The leather on the toe, which reached up to the top of the toe, was breaking apart. He matched the leather and fixed the shoes. He said, “She was a very happy customer.”
Joanne Greco Rochman is the arts editor of The Fairfield County Review, a columnist, critic, feature story writer and English professor. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, The Republican-American and Hersam-Acorn Publications. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.