Osseo Shoe Repair Shop to Close, ‘It’s a Dying Art’
For the last 61 years, Michael Zastawny has served an important purpose.
“This business opened up in 1962 when Brookdale first opened up,” said Zastawny. “And it was a family business. My dad and mom opened it up.”
Zastawny is the owner of Michal’s Boots & Shoe Repair in Osseo.
“It is a dying art,” Zastawny said.
It’s the dying art of being able to repair nearly anything made out of leather.
“Heels, soles, ripping, rips on them, conditioning, dyeing,” he said. “The majority of the work I do is usually on high heels.”
Michal’s Boots & Shoe Repair has spent the last 23 years on Osseo’s Central Avenue. It’s part repair shop.
“I have done baby dolls, and put their heads back on,” he said.
And it’s also a museum of sorts for anything having to do with shoes, boots or leather.
“Oh [it’s] a lot more than shoe repair, yes. A lot more,” he said.
Since moving the shop to Osseo in 2000, Zastawny has amassed more than 20,000 customers.
“And a lot of my customers have become friends now,” he said.
They’re friends who will soon have to find a new place to have their shoes, boots and other leather items repaired.
Zastawny says he’s retiring on May 1.
“I’m turning three quarters of a century next month,” Zastawny said. “So I thought, 75 is a good time to quit.”
With no apprentice to take over the business, and fewer people getting into this line of work, Michal’s will join the growing list of shoe repair shops taking a permanent vacation.
“A couple in Crystal, they’re gone. Maple Grove is gone,” he said. “So within the last few years, there have been like four places that are just shut down.”
It’s why he’s trying to get the word out so that customers can bring in items before he stops accepting them at the end of March.
As for anyone in need of a repair after that, he’s working on it.
“When I finally find somebody that I think will do the same kind of work that I do, I’ll refer those customers to that gentleman, or that shoe repair shop,” Zastawny said. “There aren’t very many of us around.”
Related: Business Matters: Michal’s Fixing Shoes for Decades