Recession busters are booming

WHILE High Street stores may be feeling the pinch as the credit crunch hits our purses, the recession has been a real money-spinner for some shopkeepers.

WHILE High Street stores may be feeling the pinch as the credit crunch hits our purses, the recession has been a real money-spinner for some shopkeepers.

Cobblers in Ipswich today reported an upturn in business as people look for ways to make every penny go that little bit further.

The start of winter usually makes shoppers rush out for the latest fashion, but the economic crisis is encouraging people to try and make their shoes last another season.

Christopher Dempster, 29, manager of Shoecare in Tower Ramparts, said: “Business is about 30 per cent up. People's attitudes have changed towards property.

“The shoe repair trade has gone down more and more over the last ten years, but this (the credit crunch) is going to be good for us because people are going to start having to look after what they have got.

“People are looking at what is valuable, not just what the High Street is telling them. You can't just live on credit all the time.”

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Most cobblers also offer services including key cutting and engraving to support their shoe-mending business, which has been declining more and more in recent years.

But now it is shoe repairs that are keeping many of them afloat. Neil Stevens, 42, manager of Essex Shoe Repairs, in the Turban Centre, Woodbridge, said he has noticed a significant upturn in business.

He said: “We are getting more of last year's boots in.

“Key cutting is going down, because people are not going away on holiday and there is less building work. But we have started advertising for more staff to take on.”

The boom in trade, however, has not been felt universally. Garth Ward, 41, owner of Frank Harvey Ltd, in Tannery Road, Stowmarket, said there had been no major increase in business.

“I think a lot of it is a public relations campaign. There is no increase this year other than what we would normally get,” he said.

“There is no snowball effect of customers queuing outside the door.”

Are you repairing your old shoes rather than throwing them away? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail

Electrical repair business have not benefited from the recession because of the influx of cheap goods from abroad, according to one trader.

Kenneth Driver, 58, manager of K G D Electrics in Bramford Road, Ipswich, said: “Since the advent of stuff coming out of China people are just going out and buying it. There are not many people in the repair business now.

“It's slowing right down. Once you give someone an estimate of what the price is they just go out and buy a new one. Something has got to happen soon or a lot of us will go up against the wall.”

Tailors' repair businesses have been relatively unaffected by the credit crunch because of the specialised nature of their work.

Kanha Martin, 56, owner of Hot Bobbins in Somersham Road, Ipswich, said normal clothes are quite cheap to buy, so most alterations tailors make are on expensive evening or bridal wear.

She said: “Every time we have a recession I do not notice any difference. During the period I have run the business there have been three recessions. People getting married in 2009 and 2010 have saved up the money already.”

As the recession looms, are people really cutting corners to make things like clothes last longer?

Daphne Smith, Lattice Avenue, Ipswich

“I do that anyway. Usually they get worn out but I find shoes last better than they used to. With groceries I shop around and we go to Aldi and Lidl.”

Pamela Ruddock, Garrison Lane, Felixstowe

“No, I don't try to cut any corners. I am not worried at the moment, I am quite comfortable financially.”

Sophie Lambert, Cavendish Road, Felixstowe

“I do everything I can to save, it's just something I have to do. I haven't been able to buy any new clothes for a very long time.”

Jack Lakenhall, Bolton Lane, Ipswich

“I have no problems. I do not have any fees to pay, I'm just a student. I do not have any problems with money, I am not really affected that much.”

Nick Weinhold, Spring Road, Ipswich

“At the moment it hasn't reached that stage as far as I am concerned. I have not had to cut corners yet. I am aware of the ramifications in the future but it hasn't quite escalated yet.”

Yvonne Boythe, Chelsworth Avenue, Ipswich

“I never used to because you could buy cheap shoes but now we have got to save things. I do not throw things away that I used to throw away. You have just got to conserve your money.”