By: Shreya Pahwa
MEET THE BUSINESS
If you’re on the hunt for footwear that’s comfortable, durable, and repairable — Broadway Shoe Repair (BSR) is the place to go! Currently operated by Jeff Wickstrom, this store has made Birkenstocks and Blundstones a staple in our closets!
BSR started out as “Nu-Way Shoe Repair” in 1960s by Isaac Mazurik who operated the store from various locations around Broadway and Nutana. Jeff’s dad, Allan Wickstrom, purchased the store from Isaac in the 1980s and it was renamed “Broadway Shoe Repair”. Jeff took it over from his dad in 2011! Since BSR is both a retail and shoe repair store, they do their best to carry brands that can be maintained and repaired to keep them going.
“I think customers like to hear the hammers and machines running and the smells of leather and glue when they walk in, its not simply a shoe store.” – Jeff Wickstrom
From Nu- Way Shoe Repair Nutana + Broadway = Nu Way, now Broadway Shoe Repair… its a shoe repair shop on Broadway.
MEET THE OWNER
Full Name: Jeff Wickstrom
Why did you initially start working at Broadway Shoe Repair and why did you want to take over the business?
I started working at the shop when I was in high school. I worked weekends and during the summer. I have been hanging around the shop my whole life. My dad bought the shop in 1983 and I was born in 1985. We used to come to the shop with some allowance that we got from house chores and head down the street to 7-11 and buy slurpies and 5 cent candies. My brothers and I would walk back to the store and sit in the basement and eat our candies and drink our slurpies.
I decided to take over the shop after I was left in charge of the store in 2005. My parents went on a sabbatical and I was in charge of running the store while they were gone. I enjoyed being my own boss and I enjoyed the challenge. When they came back from the trip my scope on jobs in my future was narrowed. I enjoy working for myself and I enjoy dealing with people and working with my hands.
What do you look for in new products at BSR?
I look for products that no one else has. I also try to work brands into our system– one that puts an emphasis on the quality of brand, rather than the quantity of brands. Having a great selection of one brand is what we prefer over carrying a bunch of different brands. I also look for things that are made well and that I can stand behind. We all wear the boots, sandals, slippers, socks and have leather bags and wallets from the shop.
Favourite part of your job?
The favourite part of my job is working with fun people and meeting new people. The neighbourhood is a great place to live and work. Living a few minutes walk from the shop, I get to live in my bubble that has everything I need.
What is something about your job that challenges you?
Repair is something that challenges me. Every customer is different and has different expectations– we have to communicate. That means trying to describe what the result will look like, how long it will take and how much it will cost. My regular customers know how things work around here and I do my best to describe to new customers how things are done and hopefully we can all happy when the job is done.
Neighbourhood Love – Spots on Broadway that you love to go to and why:
Coffee shops, I try to support all of them. Christies, Venn, Roastery and Museo. I try to spread the coffee addiction around.
I love going to the Yard for drinks and food, Amigos is also on the list. Black Cat for pizza is a regular charge on my Visa.
There are a few people in the neighbourhood that run shops that I look to for advice every once in a while, Jana at Bills flowers, Greg at Bike Dr. and Brian at Brainsport. Those are all people I can phone or stop by to pick their brain for suggestions and ask them for advice.