Zack's Shoe Repair in Washington Heights NY
New Yorkers do a lot of walking, and if you’ve noticed that your feet are aching more than usual, check your shoes, they may be in need of repair. If your soles need mending or your heels have come off, stop in at Zack's Shoe Repair at 840 West 181 Street, between Pinehurst Avenue and Cabrini Blvd. in the Upper Manhattan neighborhood of Washington Heights.
You won’t be able to miss his shop’s bright yellow awning, which is reminiscent of earlier days when shoe repair shops could easily be found in local communities and even subway stations. The shoe repair business on a whole has shrunk considerably in recent years, which makes finding a place like Zack’s such an important find in our high tech, mass produced times.
Business owner Zack Babakhanov is originally from Russia where he learned shoe repair as a child from his father. He came to the US in 1997 and worked for a shoe repair shop on Madison Avenue where he learned English by working directly with customers. He then opened his own repair shop at 186 Street and St. Nicholas Ave., and moved to his current location three and a half years ago, and he couldn’t be happier. He likes the neighborhood and says business is good. Zack is married and has two daughters and a son and lives in Rego Park, Queens.
I asked Zack what his business' busiest time of the year is, and he said, “The busiest time is the fall and spring, when the seasons change and people take out their clothes, and they need repairs.”
I asked Zack what is the secret to having shoes last longer? What advice would he give to his customers in caring for their shoes? He didn’t hesitate and replied, “You have to take care of your shoes, shine them, and condition them. Use shoe trees, they help keep the shape when you put them away for the season. Rubber taps also help preserve the shoes.”
Zack also does watch repair and changes watch batteries. His services include rejuvenating and repairing pocket books, bags, luggage leather jackets, and those pesky zippers that come off their tracks.
“He does a great job. We’re glad to have him here,” said Jahzeel Montes, a customer and local resident.
So if your heel has popped off or your bag strap is threadbare, don’t run to the mall to replace them, consult Zack and you’ll be happy you did.
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