ARDEN HILLS, Minn. (FOX 9) - At George's Shoes and Repair in Arden Hills, cobbling runs in the family. But now Luke George is considered one of the best there is when it comes to saving soles.
"Blown away. There's a lot of good cobblers in the country in Canada that entered this competition. I couldn't believe it," said George.
George recently won second place, The Gold Award, in the Grand Silver Cup, a prestigious shoe repair competition featuring cobblers from the U.S., Canada, and Mexico.
He had to buy two pairs of beat-up shoes and restore one of each to their former glory so the judges could have a side-by-side comparison of the attention to detail and craftsmanship that went into giving the old shoes a new shine.
"It was the first [competition] I entered. I was hoping to sneak into one of the bottom awards so I'm grateful and happy to get up to the gold," said George.
The shop has been around in one form or another for more than 100 years, surviving both the Spanish Flu epidemic in 1918 and the Great Depression.
As a fourth-generation cobbler, George hopes the recent recognition increases his family's foothold in the industry.
"Not only do I love what I do and bring these beat-up shoes back to life, but we're getting stuff from all over the country. There's not a lot of people who are doing it. A lot of shops are closing every day especially during the pandemic," said George.
George says cobblers may be a dying breed these days, but he is proud to help keep their profession alive.
"Been working in this full time since I was in my early 20s. Slowly getting better. Slowly getting better. The stamp of the industry from my peers from my judges.//is a great honor," said George.