Shoe Repair Shops Put Best Foot Forward Despite Pandemic

NEW YORK – It’s something Nelson Yanza has been doing since he was a youngster growing up in Ecuador — repairing shoes. 

His hard work that started working at his brother’s shop has paid off. When he came to the United States, he worked at a Midtown Manhattan shoe repair shop for 15 years.


What You Need To Know

  • Nelson Yanza and Wife Yesica bought Yanz Leather Services on the Upper East Side three years ago
  • Nelson Yanza worked at a Midtown Shoe and Leather Repair Shop for 15 years before buying his own place
  • The Yanzas met while working at The Leather Spa in Midtown
  • Nelson Yanza learned shoe repair as a youngster at his brother’s shop in Ecuador

It’s where he met his wife Yesica. Now, they own their own shop on Lexington Avenue on the Upper East Side. 

At any given moment, the Yanza’s can be rescuing a customer’s favorite pair of shoes, making an old pair of boots look like new again, or weatherizing them for the coming winter. 

If there is a favorite bag someone is not ready to get rid of, they’ll fix that, too. 

When I asked Yanza if he fixes more bags or shoes, his answer was both, as he fixed the zipper and handle on a customer’s beloved leather bag. 

Nelson and Yesica are running the shop on their own right now. They had to let a couple of part-time workers go, since it just hasn’t been as busy since COVID-19.

Folks working from home are not wearing out shoes as much, since they are not going to the office nearly as much.

“It is very slow now. I think all shoe shops, it’s very slow,” said Yanza. 

The Yanzas say they are going to ride this out. It took them a long time to achieve the dream of owning their own shop. They say are not going anywhere anytime soon. 

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