Economy spurs a repair shop renaissance - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Economy spurs a repair shop renaissance

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By Len Kiese - bio | email

November 24, 2008

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - The economic crisis is forcing families everywhere to cut back. Trips to the mall are becoming less frequent for many of us.

These days, it's not hard to choose between buying a new piece of jewelry and paying a bill. That's led to a renaissance at repair shops as more people try to save a few bucks. Many consumers are choosing fixing over buying.

From shoes to jewelry to electronics, repairmen are busy these days. Evagelos Ekkizogloy has been in the shoe repair business for 34 years now, fixing everything you can think of. "Just basically anything that can be done to shoes," said Ekkizogloy.

He's always busy, but lately he's seen a trend. "I've noticed that some shoes have dust on it, that have been put away and now they want to dig them out and bring them back in hopes of fixing them," said Ekkizogloy.

It's the choice of fixing versus buying. More are choosing to fix. Ekkizogloy recently repaired a customer's worn and torn $70 pair of shoes. "I put new heels, new soles, new laces for $35 and look the shoe looks brand new," said Ekkizogloy.

Due to the economy, Brian Burdette has seen the same trend at his jewelry repair stand. "In the last few months I've seen it pick up a little bit sooner because I guess people would rather get their old stuff repaired than to go out and get something new," said Burdette.

He's been repairing old rings, necklaces and watches for customers. "90 percent of the time, I can fix it for a fraction of the cost of the original watch," said Burdette.

At Charles Mills' television repair shop, televisions are stretching through the back door in need of repairs. "I've never seen it get this busy and I've been doing this for thirty years," said Mills.

For the past six months to a year, he's been swamped. "Seems like with the economy the way it is, everything is flipped the other way. Everybody is fixing again," said Mills.

Consumers who in the past were quick to spend money for new things are now changing their ways. That's good news for repairmen. "If it's worth repairing, it's just always cheaper," said Ekkizogloy.

They can't fix the economy but what they can fix is keeping extra money in some broken pockets.

Auto repair shops are also busy as people hold on to their used cars. Right now across the United States, television and shoe repair shops are far and in between. As they both see surges in customers, it could prompt more demand.

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