Recession is cobblers - for shoe repair man

PUBLISHED: 12:28 18 November 2008 | UPDATED: 22:36 15 June 2010

FOR AXMINSTER shoe repair man Terry Barker the recession is a load of old cobblers. His business is not only surviving but flourishing - as more people opt to have their shoes repaired rather than splash out on a new pair. Like many people he is getting

FOR AXMINSTER shoe repair man Terry Barker the recession is a load of old cobblers.

His business is not only surviving but flourishing - as more people opt to have their shoes repaired rather than splash out on a new pair.

Like many people he is getting the boot - but for him each one has a silver lining.

Terry's store Shoe Mate, in Silver Street, was set up three years ago and this is his busiest period yet.

He said: "I've been getting more shoes and I'm definitely snowed under. But I'm happy, and I'm not complaining. I'm very busy which means I don't have to worry about paying bills.

"I tend to be busy at this time of year, the winter season, but I think the credit crunch has helped. In the past people would have chosen to buy new shoes whereas now they are repairing them.

"It's cheaper most of the time to get shoes repaired than buy new ones. It's a positive sign that people are mending and making do, rather than throwing away and buying new."

A keen recycler, he feels such a change is not only good for people's pockets but for the environment too.

Terry has repaired shoes ranging from the homely Clarks to the designer Manolo Blahniks.

The fact that he is now fixing such costly shoes may be indicative of the current climate or simply that people are unwilling to part with their favourite shoes.

His jobs include heeling, soling, putting zips in bags and jackets, as well as key cutting. Due to the extra demand he is now working some night shifts.

He said: "I may be getting more business but there's still just me here and I can only get so much done. I'm trying to keep up with things."

*Terry said he wanted to thank everybody who sponsored him to do a parachute jump on October 31. He said: "I would like to thank all my friends and customers for donating money. It made a big difference for a worthy cause.


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