The Making of Cobbler Concierge
Cobbler Concierge was born of 83 years of service by Jim’s Shoe Repair, founded by the Rocco family in New York City. This is their story.
“He came from the other side: Naples, Italy” Joe A. Rocco said of his father Vito, who founded Jim’s Repair Shop in 1932, when Joe was only two. By 10, he was working in the shop, and bringing his father lunch during the war.
Joe, who’s in his eighth decade, maintains a strict schedule, rising at 3:30 to make it to the shop by 4:30, when he starts inspecting the shoe repairs from the previous day, sorting through the pairs that are complete and the shoes that need another look. “It’s about whatever the customers want,” he said. “If we can give it to them, we give it to them.”
Although Vito had three sons – Julio, John and Joe –his shop took the name he adopted in America. Since then Jim has become synonymous with boss, as each son who heads the business wears the title. But a name isn’t the only thing the Roccos share.
"My father was a perfectionist, I just followed through with it, and my son [picked it up] and my grandson," Joe explained of his son, also named Joe, and grandson Andrew.
My father was a perfectionist, I just followed through with it, and my son [picked it up] and my grandson
For the younger Joe, who went to college and became a CPA, the decision to return to the family trade was practical as well as personal. After his uncle passed away, Joe started working at Jim’s, where, he said “As a service [business], we deal with people all day. It’s like a family. It’s very rare, and I take pride in what we do.”
When a pair comes into the shop it’s diagnosed to figure out the necessary repairs and then monitored at each stage of the process. Once complete, the pair is evaluated two to three more times to make sure it’s “mint,” according to Andrew, the fourth-generation Rocco focused on making Jim’s user-friendly for web-savvy footwear lovers.
“If you spend 100 percent of your time dedicated to fixing shoes, it doesn’t leave a lot of time to expand,” Andrew explained. Although it may have started as a summertime job, the legacy of the family business is important to the youngest Rocco, who said he wants to help it grown beyond Manhattan.
As for the next phase, Andrew’s dad Joe said it has been a long time coming. “I’ve had this in my mind, but I didn’t have the know-how. It’s not just a web site, it’s e-commerce, and it’s big.”
Through Cobbler Concierge, the Rocco family will extend the high-level repairs, customer service and integrity its known for, nationally.
According to Joe senior, “The main thing is you have to give proper service to the people, and follow through with what you say.” Now, the people outside of New York will also get to experience the craftsmanship of these skilled tradesmen for generations to come.
See also: DNA of a Shoe Repair