How long is too long to wait for a simple shoe repair? A couple of days, a week, maybe two?
Ollie Kulchin said she has been waiting a full year to get back two pairs of boots she brought to a west-end Toronto cobbler. Not only aren’t the boots repaired, the boots are nowhere to be found.
“My boyfriend wants his boots back. They’re unique boots,” Kulchin told Global News in an interview outside the shop on Runnymede Avenue in Bloor West Village.
Last October, Kulchin brought the boots — worth about $500 each — to the shop for what seemed like simple repairs: gluing the soles.
“He said, ‘I can fix them, it will take a week,’ and I paid $60 up front,” Kulchin said.
But she said she has returned to the store repeatedly since, asking the shop owner for the boots back.
“It’s an average of two or three times a week for a year, you can do the math,” she said, describing more than 100 visits to the store in a quest to retrieve the boots.
Sometimes the shop is open, but frequently it is closed — contrary to the store hours sign that hangs inside the front door.
As Global News interviewed Kulchin outside the store, another customer attempted to retrieve her shoes, which were also left for repair. But again, the door was locked and the blinds were drawn shut.
Sophie Pierog paid $60 in advance to the cobbler to repair her shoes. Three months later, she said she can’t get them back.
“Sure I’m upset, because every time I come … he says, ‘Not ready,’” Pierog said.
Global News returned to the store on another day and spoke to Howard, the man who owns and operates the store, which has no apparent name.
“What kind of BS is this that you’re trying to feed me,” Howard said, denying he did anything wrong.
The cobbler said he dealt with health issues for the last six months, explaining his absence from the store during planned hours.
He said his phone number, given to customers like Kulchin, is not working because it is “broken”.
When asked where Kulchin’s boots are, Howard insisted that Kulchin had not come around for “seven months,” at which point he took the boots home.
“I put them in a green garbage bag. That’s’ where they are now. I have to go searching for them,” he said.
And those shoes wouldn’t be alone given that Howard said he has filled several bags of customers’ shoes and boots.
“Oh, it’s got to be 300, 400 pairs of shoes,” he said.
Kulchin said she has virtually given up hope she’ll get the boots back, but wanted to alert others that they too could be in the same situation if they left their footwear with this particular shoe repair store. She said she has now gone to Toronto police looking for their assistance.
Howard was asked if and when Kulchin might be able to get her boyfriend’s boots back.
“I’m going to find them,” he said.
When asked to give a rough estimate of when the boots could be located, Howard shrugged and said, “Who knows?”
© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.