Tim Willig didn’t dream of being a cobbler when he grew up. But in 2004, while working the racks at Northside’s Casablanca Vintage, he got an opportunity to learn the declining craft from a pro. James Napier, of the former Reading Shoe Repair, moved his shop under Casablanca’s roof and introduced Willig to the idea of fixing up gently used shoes and bags. “I was already comfortable and careful around vintage things,” Willig says. “I’m good with my hands, and I pick up things quickly.” Willig put his skills to good use last December when he bought and assumed control of the enterprise. First order of business? Taking the much cheekier name Awesome Time Shoe and Leather Repair.Willig will step up to nearly any repair challenge: patching holes, building new heels and soles, replacing zippers. “I’m willing to do the things that other people don’t want to,” he says. If you’re really attached to your footwear, Willig—who started his solo operation with nearly a decade of leather repair experience under his belt—can work miracles. “I enjoy taking a particularly bad pair of shoes and restoring them to as much of their original state as possible.”Looking for some sage shoe advice? Willig recommends coming in as soon as you notice a hanging heel, hole, or sole situation, since you can make a problem much worse by walking on it. But he’ll still take on those busted loafers since, as he puts it, he’s in the business of “making people happy.” Awesome Time Shoe and Leather Repair, 3944 Spring Grove Ave., Northside, (513) 541-6999
Photographs by Chris SmithOriginally published in the July 2013 issue
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