It's time to wave goodbye to shoe repair shop owners Gary and Beverley after almost 40 years in Royston
PUBLISHED: 16:58 02 February 2016 | UPDATED: 09:51 03 February 2016
After 37 years of mending, stitching and cobbling, shoe repairer Gary Miles finally hung up his apron and dusted down his work bench for the final time at the weekend, as he turns to setting up an online business with partner Beverley.
Gary has been a town centre stalwart ever since he began the business with his brother back in 1979 at the Corn Exchange.
He initially had ambitions to be a cabinet maker, but couldn’t resist the offer, and the pair worked together before his brother moved to Devon in 1984.
In 1987, the Corn Exchange was shut down for a refurb, and the business G. Miles Shoe Repairs moved into the High Street, before a transition to Angel Pavement 31/2 years ago.
He said: “The best part of working in the repairs industry is the satisfaction of doing a really good job.
“Helping people is a nice thing. I get a lot of friends in because I’ve been doing it for so long – it’s really kept us going!”
It’s not just shoes that Gary has worked on – he’s had quite a few unusual requests for items to fix over the years, including a trampoline with loose straps, a tennis net, dog shoes, and a leather cover for the crankshaft of a vintage car.
The 55-year-old said: “After 37 years I feel like a change. I’m getting a few problems with my hands. I need to slow down.”
Gary and Beverley will now focus on their engraving business Beeline Engraving, and will be working from home for their next venture.
He said: “It seems like more businesses are going online – but with repairs, people like to come in and speak to someone.”
The departure of Gary and Beverley will leave an empty space in the town centre for many.
Beverley, who has worked alongside Gary for nine years, said: “We’ve had a lot of nice cards and chocolates, and people coming in upset.
“We would like to thank people for all their support. I’m sure we will see them around town.”
The pair have sold their business on to chain Shoecare, which set up shop on the corner of High Street and John Street, on Monday. As well as shoe repairs, Shoecare offers engraving, watch repairs, and key cutting.
Royston branch manager John Rogers, who previously worked at Essex Shoe Repairs, said: “I have given my life over to providing a professional and caring service to the public, which I will obviously continue to administer here in Royston.”