Oswestry cobbler Michael to step down as 'throwaway society' sees trade fall
Just a few decades ago cobbler shops were a standard sight on high streets across the region.
But now one cobbler, who is hanging up his boots for the last time after 33 years in the trade, said he blames the "throwaway society" for the closure of his traditional business in Shropshire and the demise of the high street in general.
Michael McHale, 49, owner of Oswestry Cobblers in Bailey Street, Oswestry, has been offering re-heeling and other services at his shop for the last 12 years.
But despite his best efforts to keep abreast of new technology and developments, Mr McHale says he cannot continue in business because of a lack of trade and he feels the art of cobbling is being discarded by the public he has served.
He said: "I fell into the cobbling trade in 1983 and it saddens me to have to close but people no longer buy shoes to last.
"As a result of a lot of cheaper imports from India and China, there is a tendency for people to buy plastic shoes rather than spend a premium price for leather.
"People in our throwaway society would rather end things than mend them and this trend is being reflected across the high street and the service industry across the whole country.
"I just don't think consumers see the real value in things anymore – there is a desire for cheap produce.
"Many people would rather spend £20 on a pair of imported shoes that hardly last a month, which can quickly turn into a spend of more than £400 a year over time."
Mr McHale added: "You get what you pay for and a good pair of leather shoes could easily last for 25 years.
"But with consumers happy to buy on price over quality, which doesn't make sense in the long term, sadly I can't afford to carry on.
"I will be closing on Saturday and would like to thank all my customers for their support over the past 12 years."