Family shoe repair shop owner celebrating 60th anniversary in Northampton thanks 'loyal' customers

Glynn Coles, Pat O'Connell and Ian Coleman from Coles' in Kingsthorpe
Glynn Coles, Pat O'Connell and Ian Coleman from Coles' in Kingsthorpe

The second generation owner of a shoe repair shop in Northampton thanked the 'loyal' customers who have helped them reach 60 years in business.

Coles' was set up in July 1969 by Glynn Coles Sr, who branched out from his brother's shoe repair business to set up his own shop, originally in St James.

It was so successful that it expanded to eight shops in the 1970s at the height of Northampton's shoe-making industry, but is now down to one store in Kingsthorpe.

Current owner Glynn Coles Jr has been a part of the business for 50 years having started working for his father when he was 15, but believes the longevity is all down to the customers.

"I just want to thank all my customers who have been coming in all these years and they keep shopping with us," he said.

"You try your best and I believe if you treat people how you would like to be treated then you won't go far wrong."

The family lived above the shop on St James Park Road and Glynn Jr started working there straight out of school, fixing all types of shoes when it was more affordable to repair old shoes than buy new ones.

The Kingsthorpe branch opened as part of the expansion and is the last one standing but Glynn believes it is perfect for them, with Pat O'Connell and Ian Coleman working alongside him.

Key cutting is now one of the biggest elements of their trade as many cobblers have diversified in the face of falling demand for shoe repairs, particularly with the advent of trainers.

On the state of the Northampton today, Glynn said: "It's tough trading conditions at the moment, very much so.

"It seems to be more charity shops and coffee shops but I understand, we have got some empty shops here but I know there are two people moving in soon, but it's difficult."

Glynn said he has met some interesting people and made lots of close friends over the years through the store, but has no plans yet to retire.

"I've got a good team and I'm sure when I leave they can take it on but I'm enjoying doing what I'm doing," he said.