Williston’s Town Cobbler will close

WILLISTON, Vt. (WCAX) — At Town Cobbler in Williston, owner John Welsh has time to contemplate life.

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

The shoe repair shop is closed on Sunday and Monday. But on October 29, the doors will close permanently.

Welsh, a WCAX Super Senior, was candid about the store’s future prospects when we spoke to him in April. “Since the pandemic, we’ve gone down significantly,” he said.

Down 40%. Now Welsh says he can’t keep losing money and paying his two employees. And because of the 81-year-old’s physical limitations, he says it’s about time. Besides his declining health, Welch says there’s another reason they’re closing. He says that nowadays people throw their used shoes in the landfill.

“Everybody’s trying to save the world,” Welch said, “And we recycle trash, but we take our shoes, our shoes and our wallets and our leather goods, and we take them to the landfill.”

Welch went 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 full of shoes that need fixing,” he said.

Welch has had potential buyers, but he says he’s not optimistic that will happen. The Town Cobbler is one of the last of its kind in the state.

Joe 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.

Journalist Joe Carroll: Are you okay with that?

Joe Welsh: Yes.

Part of Vermont history on its last hurrah.

Related stories:

Super Senior: John Welsh

A town cobbler asks the community to bring shoes

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