15 years in Merrywalks and still going strong.
Merrywalks shopping centre is looking a bit empty at the moment with so many shops closed during the redevelopment. No-one really knows yet which businesses will move in once work is completed, but here’s one thing we can tell you: The Master Cobbler is definitely staying! Owner, Paul tells me they have negotiated their new lease this week and they are looking forward to many more happy years in the town centre.
Paul has been a cobbler for the last 32 years having stumbled into the business by chance! He told me the story when I popped in the other day.
Paul: “I had been working as a junior manager in a hotel, working 100-plus hours a week. One day I had a moan to a customer who happened to be the director of Mr Minit, a shoe repair and care business, and I was offered a job interview. Repairing shoes was the last job I wanted but I was desperate to get out of the hotel business so I took a chance, accepted an apprenticeship and never looked back!
“Having served my time with Mr Minit, I went out alone and eventually had 4 shops of my own. These days I’ve scaled back to concentrate on just the one shop in the Merrywalks Centre with my wife, Carlene, and Jo who has worked with us for 27 years.”
Together they are the precinct’s longest serving independent retailers, having spent 9 years in their current premises and 6 years before that in a different unit.
In addition to shoe repairs, the Master Cobbler offers a range of goods and services.
Paul: “We’ve always done key cutting, but now we’ve invested in new equipment to cut the modern, specialist keys. We can also engrave almost anything including glass, so we sell a selection of trophies and ornaments or customers are welcome to bring their own possessions in to be personalised with a name or message. We also stock a wide range of shoe care products, umbrellas, belts, handbags, purses, wallets, hand baggage, cases and luggage accessories to suit our customers’ needs.”
Please don’t forget that there are still businesses trading in the Merrywalks Centre while the development is ongoing. They value all customers supporting them during this unsettled time.