‘I go out of my way to help and if you do that then that separates you’ – Potters Bar shoe shop owner reflects on over 30 years
After 38 years in the business, a Potters Bar shop owner reflects how he got into repairing shoes.
Potters Heel Bar’s Kyri Nicolaou cryptically asserts: “I was in the shoe game and the rest is history,” but after some probing the WHT found out that he started off at his father’s Finsbury Park factory.
The family-run business made the uppers for Clark’s mens shoes with a staff of around 50 and this brought him into the work at a young age.
“But Clark’s were the first to move their work abroad to Portugal,” Kyri said. “It was a big shock at the time.
“You used to have this father and son or wife teams during the 80s. And most of the time people stayed in the family business.”
After moving to Potters Bar, Kyri opened his shoe shop 32 years ago, doing a slightly different trade than his father and carrying out shoe repairs, key cutting, engraving, along with selling Loake shoes, leather goods, sundries, laces and suitcases.
But he reflects the industry has changed a lot – more so in light of COVID-19.
Whereas Kyri used to attract many people who worked in London or who were going out and needed their shoes repaired, shined or new accessories, now there is less demand.