Sherman shoe repair shop feeling impact of inflation
SHERMAN, Texas (KTEN) – When you wear down the sole of your shoes, you face two options: Replace them altogether, or get them repaired.
But soon you might not have a choice, because the shoe repair industry is taking a hit.
“It’s a dying art, it’s a dying breed,” said Naif Risk of Risk's Boot & Shoe in Sherman.
Risk has known the feel and smell of fresh leather since he was six years old.
“I just went ahead and came back here and worked for my dad, even though he didn’t want me to come back here and work with him," Risk said. "He wanted me to go be a banker or a stockbroker, something like that.”
The COVID-19 pandemic forced others like him to close their doors for good. But the need for precise cuts and careful crafting hasn’t gone away.
“There’s less than probably 3,000 shoe repair shops left in the United States,” Risk said. “I’m getting boots from all over the country sent to us.”
While inflation is making wallets thinner; the cost of leather has gone up, and so has the cost to fix each boot or shoe. But it’s still cheaper to repair than replace.
“A new boot like this might cost this guy an extra hundred dollars. This is an expensive boot. Probably brand new, $700 or $800; it’s alligator," Risk said. "Well now, he goes and replaces it, it might be $800 or $900.”
He wants to find someone to carry on the 101-year-old family business, but it hasn’t been easy.
“I’ve tried to hire some other people, try to train them,” Risk said. “Sometimes they stay. It’s a job you’ve got to work; it’s an art.”
For now, it’s just Naif Risk and one other employee repairing an endless row of footwear.
“I don’t know what’s going to happen in the future; we’ll see,” he said.