People are getting their shoes repaired - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

People are getting their shoes repaired

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Shoes wait to be repaired by craftsman Evagelos Ekkizogloy at his shop in northwest Albany. Shoes wait to be repaired by craftsman Evagelos Ekkizogloy at his shop in northwest Albany.
Evagelos Ekkizogloy hands shoes to a customer. Evagelos Ekkizogloy hands shoes to a customer.
Shoes await repair at Bearfoot Shoes and Repair in Albany. Shoes await repair at Bearfoot Shoes and Repair in Albany.
Some of the shoe repair equipment used by Evagelos Ekkizogloy at his shop on Albany's northwest side. Some of the shoe repair equipment used by Evagelos Ekkizogloy at his shop on Albany's northwest side.
Shoelaces hang at Bearfoot Shoes and Repairs on Albany's northwest side. Shoelaces hang at Bearfoot Shoes and Repairs on Albany's northwest side.
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With the economy still struggling, many people are trying to find ways to make the things that they have last longer.  And that includes their shoes.

Evagelos Ekkizogloy owns Bearfoot Shoes and Repairs.  He's been in the shoe repair business for a long time.

"I have been doing this since 1974," he said.

But lately he's seen a trend.

"People are bringing some older shoes they might have had in the attic," he said.

Those old shoes that were once headed for the trash heap are now making their way to him - to be repaired. With the economy down, there's been a trend towards thriftiness.

Professor Aaron Johnson of Darton College said, "we've got to find ways to make ends meet. Sometimes that means hand-me-downs and extending the life of shoes."

Old consumer spending habits are changing. And some very old industries - like the shoe repair business - are reaping the benefits.

"Individuals who are good with their hands, good at fixing...fixing appliances and so forth, there's growth in those areas," said Professor Johnson.

The desire to stretch the dollar means that people are looking for other ways to save as well.

Johnson said, "when you go to the grocery store, you're seeing less people buying the name brand and going more to the generic brand."

But economists also say that things are picking up again, something that Ekkizogloy may have recently seen one small example of.

"I had a lady that I hadn't seen in a while. And she used to be (here) all the time. And she brought me a bag of shoes. She was saving them, I guess money was tight and maybe things got better for her," he said.

He says that his business is doing well. And as long as people want to keep those old shoes, he'll keep welcoming them with open arms.

Ekkizogloy says that the only problem that he has now is to get an apprentice who can learn the trade from him for when he gets ready to retire. He has been in his current location on Albany's northwest side since 1998.

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