The Shoe Repair Boom

Here’s a fascinating hard-times economic story from Sara Satullo. In normal times, most people just buy new shoes when their shoes wear out. But in the Lesser Depression, more people are just getting their shoes repaired instead:

But since the economic crash, fellow cobbler Rick Tilton reports a boon in business at his Palmer Township shop, Rick’s Shoe Repair.

And a new store, Lehigh Shoe and Leather Repair Shop, has popped up in Bethlehem at Fourth and Fillmore streets.

“Ever since then, it has just been crazy,” Tilton, 50, said of business since the crash. “It is coming in faster than I can get it out. Everybody is holding on to their stuff now.”

Tilton has occasionally even had to turn away business from his Nicholas Street shop, where he’s been for 17 of his 31 years in shoe repair.


  1. Only idiots throw shoes away instead of maintaining them. That you consider wastefulness normal reflects yet another example of what a lousy job my generation did raising you all.

    We’re in deep trouble.

    • Jon Geeting says:

      Not only that, I throw shoes away when I get tired of the style. Guess I’m a lousy person.

      • Not a lousy person, just don’t know any better!

        But seriously, we spent a couple decades giving out trophies for 7th place, telling kids it was alright when they failed, ruining their play time by organizing it and involving adults, and talking as if they were little adults instead of letting them be kids.

        We really did a lousy job, I mean that and I hold my generation accountable for it.

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