Henry Pastoor of A Cobblers Inn at Booval.
Henry Pastoor of A Cobblers Inn at Booval. David Nielsen

Traditional trade is cutting edge

A COBBLERS Inn is providing a range of services that, in some cases, goes against the trend of being a totally disposable society.

Owner Henry Pastoor has a wealth of experience and provides a service that is still sought.

The cobbler is traditionally about shoe repair but this business will surprise you.

"We are offering shoe repairs, key cutting, engraving, knife and blade sharpening, watch batteries, saddle repairs, manufacturing reins and a range of custom leather work including passport wallets, concealed wallets, watch bands and dog collars," Mr Pastoor said.

Mr Pastoor brings a wealth of experience and provides a destination business at Shop One, 12 South Station Rd, Booval, (near the vet clinic). He has spent 17 years at Fairfield Gardens Shopping Centre.

"I took the business over from a friend who had it for two years. We had a shopfront there and it was very successful," he said.

"I closed the shop down in 2009 and semi-retired but my daughter wanted to learn the trade so I started up again."

Living at Collingwood Park, Mr Pastoor settled on the location as it is central and easy to get to.

"I was originally a carpenter and worked for John Holland in the Northern Territory. I saw a Mr Minute business that was in air conditioning; I started with them in Queensland and worked for three years. I had enough of the heat and wanted a change," he said.

He went on to start a mobile engraving business before taking on the Fairfield Gardens business.

"I got basic training with Mr Minute and the group I worked with really helped me. I was learning on the go and I had some very good tradesmen over the years who were willing to share their skills," he said.

Mr Pastoor said while you never stopped learning he was enjoying showing his daughter "the ropes".

"The aim is to pull back and let her take over," he said.

Daughter Amanda is only in her early days of training and building her skills so Mr Pastoor would be able to hold off any ideas of retirement for just a short while.

"We do have more disposable shoes, but we do see people buying good leather shoes and want to repair them. I always say if they are comfortable then keep them, they can be repaired. I grew up with R M Williams products and they are still very popular and importantly still Australian manufactured."

Mr Pastoor knows it takes time to build a strong base but he is confident for the future.

"People are looking for customer service, quality in the products and value for money. The dollar is tight and we are a service business so people need to access these types of services," he said.

He said engraving was still very popular, with the usual watches, trophies, bracelets and medical bands.

"The most unusual I have done is on an urn for a relative's ashes and even engraved on a fry pan."

Technology has advanced for engraving but Mr Pastoor prefers to use the traditional methods.

In fact he still hand sews the leather work and has an old sewing machine that helps out.

He said the motorcycling fraternity tended to deal with cash so they liked the coin purses and wallets.

A Cobblers Inn trades Monday to Friday from 9am to 6pm and Saturday from 8am to noon.

The business can be contacted on 0411 624 333.

"It has been slowly growing and I expect Christmas will be good to us. I am very keen to get into more equestrian work. I already have products ready to go."

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