Shoe repair economics


A few months ago, in an empty lot that used to be a used car dealership here in Clarendon, some enterprising soul opened a shoe repair business. I was passing by today and I took a moment to reflect on what the repairman’s financial situation must be like. I’m sure he pays only a minimal rent, but I couldn’t imagine that he did much business. I mean, in this age of disposable consumer goods, how many people actually get their shoes repaired? It can’t possibly be cheaper to get a repair than to just buy a new pair of shoes. I thought about how lonely it must be for that guy, sitting alone in his little shack day after day waiting for people to come with shoes and money, but probably going home without even repairing one sole. “Maybe it’s a front for the mob,” I thought to myself. “Maybe I’ll plug his store on Metroblog, just because I feel bad for the guy.”

But then, miraculously, in the five minutes that I stood their pondering this guy’s fortunes, not one, but two cars pulled up and customers with armloads of shoes ran into the store. Shows what I know about entrepreneurship.

7 Comments so far

  1. Tiff (unregistered) on September 18th, 2007 @ 8:53 am

    I wouldn’t get a cheap pair of shoes from Target repaired, but I know plenty of women who spend what it takes to get high quality shoes and then pay to have them re-soled and repaired periodically. Knee-high black boots never go out of style, and when you find a pair you like, you get them repaired for as long as you can. ;)

  2. cara (unregistered) on September 18th, 2007 @ 10:08 am

    What street is that guy on? I’ll be taking my shoes to him, since he’s a lot closer to me than the lady at the Pentagon City Mall. I need my shoes re-heeled every few months from walking around D.C., and $10-$13 to re-heel my shoes costs a lot less than picking up a new pair!

  3. James (unregistered) on September 18th, 2007 @ 10:16 am

    Yeah I live around the corner, and the price to resole a shoe is a much better deal here than at the Hakky in Ballston Mall.

    However this shoe meca is not going to last long because Walnut Capital owns the property and has plans to redevelop it!


  4. Carl Weaver (unregistered) on September 18th, 2007 @ 10:30 am

    I haven’t had shoes repaired in many years but that’s because I haven’t had decent shoes in several years. It’s goo dto know this is one indutry that is not creating things that are completely dispoable.

  5. KCinDC (unregistered) on September 18th, 2007 @ 10:50 am

    I once got some shoes resoled, since it cost less than half the price of new shoes. But the new soles started coming apart within a month or two, so I doubt I’ll take the gamble again.

  6. LegOfAhab (unregistered) on September 18th, 2007 @ 12:02 pm

    A good pair of nice (dress) shoes should last you about 10+ years given that its properly taken care of. Believe me, invest in a good pair – you won’t regret it.

  7. Lady Wesley (unregistered) on September 21st, 2007 @ 10:23 am

    That shop is not new – it’s been located on Washington Blvd. (next to Red Top Cab) for many years. The old lease expired (the shop is now vacant), and the current owner (whose name I just can’t remember) had trouble finding anything affordable in the Clarendon/Ballston neighborhood.

    I’ve taken many pairs of (expensive) shoes to be shined, resoled or otherwise repaired. He’s also repaired purses and backpacks.

    There is none better or cheaper. I hope he’s able to find a more permanent home in the area.

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