Dying art: a shoemaker in Alabama celebrates its 100th anniversary in 2022 | Mobile County Alabama News

DOWNTOWN MOBILE, Ala (WALA) – Inside a small shoe repair shop in Downtown Mobile, the work never stops for Brand Ledge.

“You have to come in here in the morning and work until you leave,” he said. “I mean there is no lunch hour.”

For 53 years, Ledge has been doing a job he loves at Dauphine Shoeteria. It is a store that his grandfather opened in 1922. 2022 marks 100 years.

“As far back as I can remember, I wanted to do it,” he said.

Using some of the same tools his grandfather used a century ago, Ledge says he repairs a bit of everything, like luggage, handbags, and belts, but as you can imagine his bread and its butter are shoes.

He has built a reputation for himself that drives people from all over the Gulf Coast to come and see him.

“I just appreciate all of the loyal business and customers I have had over the years and hope they continue to wear down their shoes,” said Ledge.

Shoe repair is a dying art.

According to the Shoe Service Institute of America, there are fewer than 4,000 stores left in America. A century ago, when the store opened, there were around 120,000.

“Very lucky to be here again,” said Ledge. “Like I said, we’ve had ups and downs over the years with the economy and of course the pandemic. Everything went well.

Its customers say they know they are getting quality.

“You walk in, you smell the leather, you just know this guy has it in hand,” Amanda Akey said.

For now, Ledge continues the tradition his grandfather started and his father continued.

Beyond Ledge, it’s unclear who will maintain him in the future since his son has taken a different path.

“All my clients tell me you have to live another 100 years,” he said,

We could hope. In the meantime, this is a company with a lot of soul and of course a lot of soles.

If you are looking for the boutique, it is located on Conti Street in downtown Mobile and is open from 8:00 a.m. to 5:15 p.m.

All content © 2002-2021 Gray Television, Inc., WALA; Mobile, Alabama. (A station of Gray Media Group, Inc.). All rights reserved.


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