As Cobblers Vanish, Shoe Repair Steps Online

As shoe repair industry shrinks, shops go online for remote customers
By Harry Kimball,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 11, 2010 12:52 PM CST
As Cobblers Vanish, Shoe Repair Steps Online
A shoe repair business.   (AP Photo)

The shoe repair industry has shrunk drastically in the past decades, and what cobblers remain have taken to the Internet for customers. More than a million pairs are sold in the US each year, but there are only 7,000 repair businesses left, down from 120,000 80 years ago. Now, needy hoofers can just pack up their tired soles and send them off to be renewed. Some cobblers even send you a box.

The Wall Street Journal tried out a few online operations and was pleased with the final results, if not with the turnaround time, which can't compete with the proprietor of the shop on your block. The Internet jobs were also pricier, though the quality was top notch. Happily, many companies are outgrowths of still operating brick-and-mortar concerns. (Read more shoe repair stories.)

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