Vernon cobbler sets up shop

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VERNON >> Shoes can often be a significant investment, and when damage occurs, instead of replacing a shoe altogether, a cobbler can fix them.

Ray's Shoe Repair has recently moved from Worcester, Mass., to Vernon, and owner Ray LeFort said that he has so far been please with the way things are going. According to the Ray's Shoe Repair Facebook page, the company began in 1980 in Holden, Mass. Since then, customer satisfaction has been a priority according to LeFort.

"It's enjoyable to know that I'm doing something that I like, and I'm pleasing people," LeFort said.

He said that he offers to accept anything that a customer is not satisfied with back, and so far since moving his shop to Vermont, he has not has anyone return anything. "No one's come back with anything ... so I'm assuming they all like it."

The Vermont shop has been open since September of this year, and LeFort said that business has been picking up steadily.

"For a place that there's really been no cobbler for quite a few years ... we're doing really well. There's not a tremendous amount (of new customers), but about one or two more every week so we're getting up there," LeFort said.

Regarding the move, he said that he was initially worried about the amount of customers the new location would bring,

"The process of opening was very, very scary because of the fact that there's nobody around. Where I'm coming from, we would have maybe five, six hundred people a day that went by my shop. Here, I'm lucky to have one hundred," LeFort said. "So you can see, there's a big difference."

Regarding the Ray's Shoe Repair website, LeFort said that he does not run it himself, but he has had entirely positive feedback from the public on it. "There's been nothing but good reviews on it, so from what I understand people like it."

LeFort said he has been a cobbler for more than 30 years, and that there are many aspects that he really enjoys about his job. "It's a job that I'm my own boss, I can work at my own pace, and I can satisfy different people for different things."

Additionally, LeFort said there are a number of challenges that come along with being a cobbler. He said that during his years as a cobbler, he has seen some strange occurrences.

"A dog ate the whole back half of a shoe, and I've rebuilt that," LeFort said. "Boat covers, umbrellas, toys, I've put zippers in boots, Velcro in boots ... There are so many different things it's unbelievable but most of them are challenges.

While there may be challenges associated with the job, LeFort said that this is one of the reasons why he loves the job.

"It's a satisfying job. It's not boring."

Devon Roberts is a student at Keene State College, in Keene, N.H. She can be contacted at droberts@kscequinox.com.


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