Christopher Dowd is back in town doing something he probably never imagined upon graduating from Wellesley High School in 1988: Running a shoe repair shop.
Dowd and his partner Macsim “Max” Mkrtchyan (or Mkrtchian), who already operate Prospero’s Shoe Repair at 54 Province St., in downtown Boston, have bought out David’s Shoe Repair at 294 Washington St., in Wellesley Hills, on the strip that includes iCopy and Maugus Restaurant. They plan to rename the Wellesley business as Prospero’s Shoe Repair.
The new owners this week take possession of the store, which we believe has been operated as David’s since the late 1980s. Some might recall the shop was closed temporarily following a Christmas Eve fire in 2007.
Dowd was planning to bring his business to Wellesley regardless of whether he could take over David’s, but the owner decided to sell and move on to other things. Those who use shoe repair services are likely in for a big improvement in service (and perhaps higher-than-average prices). Not that you can rely entirely on Yelp reviews, but feedback there on David’s and Prospero’s might tell you a thing or two. Prospero’s also cracked this local list of top cobblers.
Dowd’s background includes working in financial planning and computer network sales, but shoe repair called him: “For many years I got my shoes shined at Prospero’s Shoe Repair (also known as ‘Max’s Shoe Repair’) in downtown Boston. I became very friendly with the owner (Max) and while in between jobs I started working at the shine stand and soon found myself behind the counter doing shoe repair as well.”
Mkrtchyan wound up selling the business to Dowd, but then decided to stay on as the shoe repair shop’s business boomed. Mkrtchyan will be the primary owner of the Wellesley shop, as he lives closer to here than Dowd. But Dowd will work in the Wellesley shop on Saturdays.
“Shoe repair is currently in a renaissance mode,” Dowd says. “The disposable shoe is not only cost ineffective but unhealthy (back and leg problems ensue). But we do find ourselves repairing even the ‘disposable’ shoe as well. Once a customer finds a shoe that fits- they are willing to pay for repair- even beyond the purchase price of the shoe. But our bread and butter comes from quality shoe repair — high-end shoes for men and women.”
Prospero’s also handles all manner of leather goods repair, including luggage and purses.
And a possible local touch: “We have plans for custom-made sandals with some sort of Wellesley-themed logo – perhaps Fuller Brook Path.”
I asked Dowd about possible employment opportunities for local youth, and he says that will happen. The business plans to install a shoe shine stand, which David’s doesn’t have. Shoe-shining and behind-the-counter work will provide local youth with an opportunity for part-time work and the chance to learn a trade, Dowd says.
As for any crazy shoe repair stories: Dowd says you’ll need to come into the shop for those.