‘Business Is Dead': Shoe Repair Stores Struggle as Corporate Workers Remain Home

“We suffer a lot because we depend on the people in the building,” the owner of Eddie’s Shoe Repair in New York City’s Rockefeller Center said

Hugo Ardaix, 65, has owned Eddie's Shoe Repair, a staple of Rockefeller Center, for more than 20 years. He has seen a 95 percent decline in revenue since the pandemic hit
Elise Wrabetz / NBC News

From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Monday to Friday, David Yushubayev sits in a chair at Markell’s Shoe Repair with the door open, waiting for customers to pick up the shoes they left behind in March.

Shoes in plastic bags line the walls behind the desk of the tiny shop nestled in a corner of a midtown Manhattan office building.

“For four hours, I stay here, and then I go home,” Yushubayev, 67, said. In November, the business that did well for 35 years had no clients at all.

Put plainly: “Business is dead,” Yushubayev said. Few need repairs or a shoeshine anymore. Sometimes, a person will pop in, ask a question, and leave.

When New York City mostly shut down in March as Covid-19 surged, office workers who could work from home did so. They swapped out dress shoes for slippers, and wondered if the plants on their office desks would die.

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