For more than 27 years, Mike Waterman has been gluing, grinding and stitching footwear of various types in his 356-square-foot workshop on Lower Johnson Street in downtown Victoria.
The cobbler and owner of Olde Towne Shoe Repair has lost track of just how many pairs he’s repaired, but continues to be very busy. Over the years, Waterman says he has seen the quality of footwear decline, but is encouraged by the number of people who will repair good footwear rather then throw them out.
He says he believes that since the economic downtown, many people think twice about how they spend their money and are embracing repair and reuse. Working on a cash register from a bygone era, in a strictly cash, washroom-less shop, he takes an artisan’s approach in a line of work many thought time had passed by, and says the job has many rewards.
“It’s a great way to meet people,” he says. “Everybody wears shoes — doctors, lawyers, street people, they all wear shoes.”