Mr. Martin is still going strong:



Martin’s Shoe Repair Shop
located at 28 West Winter St.

This street crosses
our “main road”
Sandusky Street.

Mr. Martin has repaired much
more than shoes for my
family, over the 30
years I have been
living here.

If I were older or
he were younger,
I would call
Mr. Martin,

A purse I dearly loved needed
a way to keep the strap on.

I told him I had no preference
nor vision of how it might look
upon my return.
I sometimes, to be safe and
clear with a budget will
suggest my
“Ball park figure.”
How much I will be
able to afford.
No sense in having
the cost go above
this amount.

I stated, quietly, the
first time I went
to Mr. Martin,
“I probably
could pay
you $20.”

He nodded
his head
and then
pointed to
a shelf full
of stuff,
sort of a
waste of
time on
his part,
due to cost
being above

This man upon being
asked, approves
of being called,
African American.

Mr. Martin says this
accurately expresses
those of his family’s
Roots and Heritage.

Mr. Martin likes my
upfront attitude and
actually met my 3 kids
plus the 5 “wards,” my
babysitting clients.

We looked like either the
Von Trapp Family Singers
or Cheaper by the Dozen.
In those first nine years
after we came to Delaware.

I has proudly told him I took
care of my children with the
Children’s parents paying me,
along with my child support.
No public assistance but
“Bartering” repaired cars,
Received free hair cuts
and a sundry of items.
I could offer house
cleaning, babysitting
and art work.

One year I created
for one of my
“Clients” their
Christmas card.
I received two
hair cuts.

Another time,
I babysat for
two weekends
of date escapes
for my 45 record
player repaired.

Mr. Martin admired
my entrepreneur
“Spirit” and called
me, “Spunky.”

Here is a list of many
more leather items
my acquaintance,
“The Shoe Cobbler,”
has repaired over
the years:

Purse strap
Purse zipper
Luggage strap
Camera case strap,
. . . . . . . Etc. . . . . . .

His shop is located two
doors down from
Bun’s Restaurant.

This place serves German
food along with a variety
of international foods,
has been featured in
“Bon Appétit”
This has
To Martin’s
Shoe Repair
Shop business.

Martin has another
neighbor which brings
purchasing traffic:

If you look closely
you may spy the sign for,
Robinson’s Funeral Home.

: : : :

A fellow blogger commented
on the very same day I
posted my first shop
post, downtown
view of where
I live, a post
“Twentieth Century Saturday,”
where she did errands on
foot, walking to places,
on her blog at:


48 responses »

  1. What a nice tribute to a cool shop and a nice man. We lost our shoe repair shop many years ago. I miss having the opportunity to get some things repaired. I like that you refer to him as Mr Martin. Respect knows no time limit.

    • Yes, Pamela! Yay, for nice people downtown and I don’t head to the malls unless it is winter and I like to walk the perimeter and people watch with my daughter or friend! 🙂 Have a great weekend!

  2. Robin, your town storefront is similar to mine. Unfortunately, Walmart came in and put many mom and pop stores out of business. Now it’s mostly a ghost town. Mr. Martin is quite the town treasure. Funny how strangers can put a stamp on your psyche.

    • Cindy, sorry about your ghost town. Hope things may turn around. . . We lost Elder Beerman, our Pilsner’s five & dime, and our candy shop. I especially am proud of our renovated movie theater with new modern lenses. Three parts, balcony, side theater, and main theater has gold filigree and red curtains. 🙂 The Strand theater has a senior over 55 deal, $7 for first run movie ticket, small popcorn and medium drink. Thanks for liking Mr. M’s shoe repair store, Cindy. Have a great weekend! 🙂

  3. I am so happy to read this, Robin. I worry that our one shoe repairman in town will finally throw in the towel and then what would we do? I also love the old fashioned, quaintness of the sign over the brick building. Another vivid slice of your life. I treasure mom and pop businesses and the dedicated people who run them, too. 🙂

  4. We have a “Mr. Martin” too, Robin. They’re a sweet Asian couple who will repair just about anything. There’s something comforting about little shops such as these, the owners are typically special people who aren’t in business for the money.

  5. Your story brought me reminiscences of my youth with the local shops, including a shoe repair store where I got shoes and boots re-soled many times. There was also the local supermarket where I got my first job as a boxboy.

    These small businesses tend to go unnoticed until the day you need them, and then they are like a local gold mine. Your town is most fortunate to have Mr. Martin and his shop still offering his service after all these years. His store front is immaculate! And it still retains it’s retro charm. – Mike

    • Thank you, Mike for realizing how rare this is and what a blessing to have people who care and smile, instead of strangers waiting on you. I liked your story about your job while young. . . 🙂 ♡

    • Diana, I feel lucky to have met him almost 30 years ago. It is great he shows attention to people and detail in his repair work. He uses a lot thicker glasses, but Mr. Martin is (like you implied) part of a “dying breed” of craftsmen and women. 🙂

  6. The Mister has some boots from Norway. He must have them close to 20 years now. Every few years, we take them in for repair.
    It’s one of those things that’s changed so much in time — hard to find a local — the butcher, the baker, the cobbler…

  7. Nice to see that businesses like this still exist. We have a strip near us in Burbank with a lot of charming small businesses and a lot of them have closed in the past year or so. How sad.

  8. We’ve small shoe-repairing shops in our locality, but they are disappearing quickly failing to keep pace with the fast moving world. I loved this quaint shop, especially the shoe-shaped signboard. It’s cute 😀 A wonderful poem to pay tribute to such small business.

    Have a great weekend ahead, Robin… 🙂

    • I am glad you know about small shop businesses, have a shoe repair shop in your locality and how they are good at service with unique items, Maniparna. Busy weekend~ I have had 2 granddaughters over from Fri until Sat afternoon. Then I went to another town, picked up my eye contacts. On Sat night went to oldest daughter’s house snd watched Micah, bust 6 year old all day. Hope you had a lovely weekend. ♡

      • That’s been really a busy but wonderful weekend for you 🙂 Even I had a busy one this time 😀 attend the wedding of one of my friends and stayed at her place…returned on Sunday late night. It’s Monday morning here now and mundane work again… :/

  9. I smiled the entire time I read this piece, Robin. You are just delightful. I can see why Mr. Martin would have enjoyed talking with you. You do have “spunk” to barter so creatively, too. I admire that, and think there’s an art to doing that well that should return to American life. 🙂

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