For rent signs arrived Friday at the former A.K. Shoe Repair on East Ninth Street between First Avenue and Second Avenue.
The shop closed at the end of August. The proprietor told DNAinfo that his rent went from $2,000 to $4,500. Coupled with other expenses, he said that he couldn't make the business work any longer.
At the end of July, Alex Shoe Repair closed on Second Avenue between East Third Street and East Fourth Street. The owner was paying $4,000 a month in rent. The new asking rent from Icon Realty is $14,000.
Other neighborhood cobblers to close in recent years include David's Shoe Store on East Seventh Street and A. Fontana Shoe Repair on East 10th Street ... while East Village Shoe Repair closed on St. Mark's Place, only to relocate to Bushwick.
Here's DNAinfo with an explanation for the cobbler closures:
Across the city, experienced cobblers are closing the doors of their small businesses as they see their rents rise, potential customers buying new shoes rather than repairing old ones, and a dearth of apprentices interested in learning their trade.
As for who's left in the East Village, we counted four, including two shops with Alex in the title (neither are related to the Alex who closed on Second Avenue…)
Alex Shoe Repair, 99 Avenue C between East Seventh Street and East Sixth Street…
Alex Shoe and Watch Repair (and barber shop!), 71 First Ave. between East Fifth Street and East Fourth Street…
Firm Shoe Repair, 116 Fourth Ave. at East 12th Street…
Steve's Express Shoe Repair, 311 E. 14th St. between First Avenue and Second Avenue…
Ugh… forgot this one...
14th Street Shoe Repair Shop, 428 E. 14th St. between Avenue A and First Avenue…
And there are a few shops on the periphery of the neighborhood, such as Star Shoe & Watch Repair at 74 Bleecker between Crosby and Broadway … and John’s Shoe Repair at 30 Irving Place between East 15th Street and East 16th Street.
I'd take my business to John's when I worked nearby. Once, I brought in a pair of shoes that another shop kinda screwed up. The proprietor looked at the shoes, and with a great deal of disgust, said, "The person who did this wasn't a cobbler." He paused. "He was a butcher."