Cancel the search. Call off the bloodhounds. Send Sherlock Holmes back to Baskerville. The lost has been found and he’s back.
Turns out he wasn’t lost at all, just on a brief hiatus while finding a new location. And now that he’s back, they‘re back!
“He” is Luis Urbina, proprietor of Master Shoe Repair in Naples.
“They” are the some 300 pairs of shoes, purses, suitcases and other leather merchandise that some feared were lost. Customers have been notified that they are available for pickup at the new location.
Urbina has relocated his shop from Coastland Center to Shoney’s Plaza, 1460 Golden Gate Parkway, just east of Goodlette-Frank Road and practically across the street from Coastland mall. He can be found there Monday through Saturday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.
“I closed because my rent went up to almost $4,000 a month. I worked only to pay the rent,” Urbina said.
In addition to rent, of course, he has to pay taxes, license fees and other fixed costs.
A native of Honduras, Urbina came to Naples in 1994 after working in Miami for seven years. That is where he met and married his wife Amelia.
The Urbinas have two daughters. Louisa, the oldest, is 21 and works at the mall.Wendy, 19, is finishing high school and is working as a volunteer in the Sheriff’s office.
“She probably will go to the Police Academy,” said Luis Urbina with obvious pride.
And it was Louisa who called all customers letting them know where they could pick up their possessions when the mall shop closed.
Master Shoe Repair does a lot more than repair shoes. A glance at the shelves reveals such other leather items as purses, luggage and brief cases waiting to be repaired.
“The shoe shop is the old fix-it shop. You can get just about anything fixed from shoes to footballs and even tents because they have the machines, the ingenuity and the expertise,” said Buddy Smith, a wholesale supplier who travels out of Nashville to call on 140 shoe repair shops in the Southeast.
Urbina gets his supplies from wholesalers like Smith, as well as from companies like Miami Leather and Sax in Chicago, although most everything is produced outside the United States now, Smith said.
In his shop, you will find such items as laces, polish, brushes, daubers and leather balm. Despite the variety of items and the variety of work that the shop does, shoe repair remains the primary reason that people patronize Master Shoe Repair. Urbina points out that the heels and souls he provides last two-to-three times longer than the originals.
The fact that Luis Urbina takes pride in his work is obvious. His job is to keep you in your shoes as long as you take a shine to them.
Footwear isn’t just part of your wardrobe, it’s an investment, according to the Shoe Service Institute of America, the century-old trade association for the shoe repair industry. The SSIA logo appropriately is “If the Shoe Fits, Repair It.”
And that’s where Master Shoe Repair “fits” in.
As Mark Twain once said, “the reports of my death are greatly exaggerated.” Certainly, the demise of Master Shoe Repair not only was exaggerated, but erroneous.
Stop in and see for yourself. But be sure to bring in something to be fixed — “anything under the sun,” Smith said.