Wear your favorite shoes for life, thanks to Mr. CobblerFeb 22, 2021 03:08PM ● By Jan Weeks
Mr. Cobbler repairs boots, sandals and more
“Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without.”
Our ancestors lived by that motto, which has all but vanished in this age of inexpensive foreign-made goods. It seems easier to throw things away when they wear out, even when there’s nothing majorly wrong with them. Owners often toss even expensive items, like cowboy boots and designer shoes, because they don’t know what else to do with them.
Good news! Now you don’t have to throw away those boots with holes or shoes with worn-down heels. Grand Junction has its own resident cobbler—the owners of the aptly named shop, Mr. Cobbler. Scott and Jami McCloskey, both in their 30s, have taken up the ancient art of shoe repair, saving folks money and shopping time.
Step back in time
Scott worked in the oil field for many years, but wanted a change of pace.
“I’ve always liked the idea of shoe repair,” he said. “It’s fun and challenging. Every day brings something different.”
Mr. Cobbler’s original owner, Bob Boyer, planned to retire and sold the shop to the McCloskeys a year and a half ago. Scott knew nothing about the craft of shoe repair, so Boyer taught him to use his equipment, which hasn’t changed in design since the 1940s. As the saying goes, if it works, don’t fix it.
In the mornings, Scott multitasks at repairing footwear, shining shoes, taking payments and drop-offs. And he’s very good at it—no customer ever has to wait to pick up or leave items. Jami arrives after her shift at her other job, manning the front in the late afternoons and early evenings.
Stepping into the shop is like stepping back 60 years. Equipment that was middle-aged then still works perfectly. The nailer secures new soles into place. The polisher and grinder whir busily as boots are shined and extra bits on reheeled pieces are removed. The stretcher expands too-tight footwear. And Scott runs them all.
However, shoe and boot design has changed over the years and there are some things McCloskey can’t fix such as molded soles, since they’re not removable or replaceable. But even boots and shoes made with molded soles can be restitched, have new eyelets installed, and be stretched if the upper part is too small.
“A big part of what we do is repairing western boots, work boots and dress shoes, since these tend to be more expensive. A lot of them are still made with leather soles and can be resoled. I think most younger people don’t know that their shoes and boots can be fixed,” Scott said.
Even specialty footwear, like climbing shoes, can be resoled.
“Most of our clients are older people who grew up taking their shoes to be repaired instead of tossed,” Scott added. “The best part of my job is when clients pick up their favorite pair of boots or shoes and see them brought back to life.”
The downside is when someone brings in a favorite pair that he’s not able to fix. However, Scott continues to learn and improve his skills every day.
“I believe I’ll always be learning new things,” he said.
Purses, belts welcome
Mr. Cobbler doesn’t just specialize in footwear. Purses, belts and backpacks await new straps or buckles. As long as they’re not made of plastic or very thin material, these items can be patched, restitched and have parts replaced (except zippers). The shop also carries a complete line of laces, shoe polishes, saddle soap, suede cleaner and insoles.
The next time your articles need attention, follow the advice of our forebears and take them to Mr. Cobbler. The shop is located in Cottonwood Mall, 2439 Highway 6&50 just off the frontage road. It’s open Tuesday through Friday from 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m.-2 p.m.
Don’t have time to stop by the shop? Mr. Cobbler now offers mobile boot repair for local residents. To learn more, call 241-9123 or visit www.mrcobblerco.com.