Williston’s Town Cobbler to close

Published: Sep. 13, 2022 at 5:11 PM EDT
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WILLISTON, Vt. (WCAX) - At the Town Cobbler in Williston, owner John Welsh has some time to contemplate life.

“Every morning you get up, the world says, ‘Here, this is what you’re going to do,’ and you deal with it,” Welsh said.

The shoe repair business is closed Sundays and Mondays. But on the 29th of October, the doors will close for good.

Welsh, a WCAX Super Senior, was candid about the future prospects of the shop when we spoke with him back in April. “Since the pandemic, we’re down considerably,” he said.

Down 40%. Now, Welsh says he can’t continue losing money and paying his two employees. And because of the 81-year-old’s physical limitations, he says it’s time. Besides his declining health, Welsh says there’s another reason why they’re closing. He says people nowadays are throwing their worn-out shoes into the landfill.

“Everybody tries to save the world,” Welsh said, “And we’re recycling garbage, but we’re taking our footwear, our shoes and our pocketbooks and our leather goods, and we’re taking them to the landfill.”

Welsh transitioned from cop to cobbler in the early ‘70s in Shelburne. He’s been in Williston for decades. “What should happen, those shelves over there should be filled with shoes to be repaired,” he said.

Welsh has had some potential buyers, but he says he isn’t optimistic that’s going to happen. The Town Cobbler is one of the last of its kind in the state.

John Welsh: I tell you what I think. I think you’re going to do a little story and this place is going to be buried in a month, that’s what I think.

Reporter Joe Carroll: You’re OK with that?

John Welsh: Yeah.

A part of Vermont’s history on its last hurrah.

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