I'm Gonna Buy Myself ... er ... Fix Myself Some New Shoes

Behold, one of my favorite dress shoes of all time. 

I just did something I've never done before. I took my shoes to a shoe repair shop instead of ditching them and buying new.

And guess what? It was a great experience.

I had two pairs of shoes in need of repair. One pair was damaged when I was strolling on a walking trail with co-workers recently. The heel of my left boot tore off and flew backward into the grassy embankment next to the path. I quickly retrieved it and limped around one-heeled for the rest of the workday. (This is why you should always bring extra shoes to work. Or wear walking shoes if you're planning to take a walk.)

My damaged boots look similar to these ones. 

The heel of the other pair was damaged a while back — I believe when I stepped on the crack of a sidewalk as I was leaving the YMCA. (This is why you should always jump over the sidewalk cracks.)

During the former excursion, the co-worker with whom I was walking mentioned she has had good luck with a local shoe repair shop on Leonard Street, Mieras Family Shoes.

I decided to give it a whirl.

Mieras is on the West Side of town, a short drive from where I live. It has been a family-owned business since 1922.

When I walked in, I was greeted by a young man behind a cash register who was wearing an apron. (Men wearing aprons are always a good start to a customer service experience.)

He directed me to the workshop in the back of the store. The place smelled strongly of what I imagine was leather polish, caulks, glues and resins of various kinds. 

"Jimmy, you've got a customer," the young man said, gingerly approaching a much older man with thick glasses and wild, wispy gray hair. 

Jimmy at first appeared not to hear, but then he shuffled over toward me and, without greeting me or looking at me directly, waited patiently for me to state my business.

I was instantly charmed. It was clear the young man was the one with the social ease and sales persona, and the older man was the fixer, the craftsman, the quiet fella with no taste for chatter.

He assessed my shoes with a bit of prodding and flexing of the damaged areas and determined within 30 seconds or less that they were fixable.

"I've even got some new light-colored heels that will be just perfect for this pair," he said, indicating the damaged tan pumps.

My receipts from Meiras Family Shoes.

He took out a couple of tickets and a pen and wrote down my name, phone number and the date, then ripped off the stubs and said, "We'll call you in two weeks." 

The shoes were ready in six days. They charged $10 per pair.

Read more posts in the Storytelling Sunday series here.

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