Cape Cod Cobbler Repairing Shoes for over 40 Years

Bob Hagopian of Bass River Shoe Repair has been a cobbler for most of his life. He set up shop in the early 70s on Cape Cod. “Shoe Repair” is only a partial description of everything Bob does. He fixes just about anything leather. Shoes, bags, belts, baseball mitts, luggage etc.

Bob describes it best when he says, “You’re taking things that are worn and kind of disheveled and making it look fresh again.”

He grew up in Northern California where his uncle was a cobbler. He worked during the day and attended shoe repair classes in the evening. He learned the craft and eventually set up his own shop.

Over the years, he’s seen many of the same customers come through the door. Before moving to the Bass River location, his shop was next to a hairdresser. “A lot of the men became friends of mine. They would come in just to pass the time and talk while the wives were getting their hair done”, Bob recalls.

It’s not just the clientele that’s changed by the work as well. The biggest change Bob says is how shoes are produced in particular the soles. Very few customers come in with the old style shoes. While I was there a woman here on vacation brought in a pair of walking shoes to be stretched. Bob not only repairs shoes but also stretches them.

Being a cobbler is about extending the life of a product. Bob says he’s always straight with a customer, he’ll tell them if the product is worth being repaired. “I can repair just about anything. They need to understand if you buy good leather to begin with and pay me a bit to repair it you could double the length of that shoe,” says Bob.

He’s cut his hours to 9-3 now that’s he’s gotten a bit older and has grandchildren. In his off time, he enjoys golf and tennis. He’s confident that cobbling on Cape Cod will continue, “Young people still need things repaired: handbags and shoes they love.”

Bass River Shoe Repair is located at 146 Old Main Street in South Yarmouth.

By Rebecca Romo, Lifestyle Reporter CapeCod.com


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