Carmen’s Shoe Repair: A generational loss

Posted 3/14/24

As the granddaughter of a shoemaker, I was saddened to discover that another member of the post-war industry was no longer in business.

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Carmen’s Shoe Repair: A generational loss


I moved to West Mt Airy three years after living in Society Hill for 40 years. My adult children live in Mt. Airy. The first recommendation I asked my daughter-in-law for was for an expert shoemaker. She gave me Carmen Jr.’s. location. I only had a chance to use his services once before his store closed.

I am the granddaughter of a shoemaker who eventually became a shoe manufacturer in northern New England after World War II. He was very successful and known as a volunteer “social services” agency for all his employees. The repair of shoes was of utmost importance in our family. 

My grandfather took responsibility for all of his employees long before the government assumed any of those needs for workers. I wear a pendant that the workers gave my mother when she was a little girl. The workers collected enough money from each other to give my grandfather a gift, knowing he would reject it for himself. So, they decided to buy something beautiful for his precious only child – a little girl.

I grew up in New York City. Upon moving to Philadelphia and Society Hill, I  immediately developed a relationship with Dom’s Shoe Repair in Society Hill. For 40 years I used his expert talent on shoes, pocketbooks, belts and travel bags –  anything made of leather. 

When my children grew up they continued this relationship. All together we proceeded to develop a wonderful relationship and worked on many projects together.

Upon moving to West Mt. Airy, among the many losses of relationships I missed was my relationship with Dom. I hoped after visiting  Carmen Jr.'s shop that I had found a new partner to facilitate my dreams involving leather.

When I first saw the closure-due-to-illness sign I was shocked and saddened. As I drove past the shop almost daily, I hoped there would be a positive resolution to “the illness” referred to. 

On reading your column, I was saddened to discover that yet one more member of the shoe post-war shoe industry was no longer in business.

Please let Carmen Jr. know how saddened I was to hear of his medical difficulties and how important a man with his skills was to my life, and to the life of his community, in so many ways.

 With great respect for Carmen Jr. and his family,  

Nancy Machinist

Mt. Airy