Fast Eddie’s Shoe Repair – a glimpse inside the historic shop
Fast Eddie’s Shoe Repair, located in the pedestrian alley of the Dinkydale Building, has been a fixture in Dinkytown since 1971. The shop was opened by Eddie LaPlante after the owner of the former Campus Cobbler convinced him to open a shoe repair shop in Dinkytown. Eddie originally had a shop on Central Avenue, but after a different shoe repair shop closed the Campus Cobbler knew the benefits of having a repair shop nearby so he convinced Eddie to move his shop to Dinkytown.
Current owner Jim Picard started working for Eddie in 1985. He received hands-on training from Eddie who had plans to retire. Eddie ended up staying with the business for 20 more years and worked well into his 80s. Originally, the shop was named Eddie’s Shoe Repair, but was renamed “Fast Eddie’s” after being known for their speedy service. To this day, Jim still does everything himself for the business, including the accounting.
Fast Eddie’s offers a range of shoe repair services, with the most popular being heel replacement (Ranging from $19 – $38). The shop stocks leather protectants, shoe polish, insoles, laces, among other things. Also, after the hardware store closed in Dinkytown they began offering key cutting services since there wasn’t anywhere else nearby offering that service.
Jim’s favorite part about being in Dinkytown is that it’s always young and active. Although Dinkytown is a historic neighborhood, there are always new people coming through it with the start of every school year. Jim estimates that only 20% of his business is from students, with the majority of his customers being people who work a the University.
Shoe repair is a dying art, there are only a handful left in the Twin Cities. Jim has no plans to retire anytime soon. He may do as his predecessor did before him, which is find an apprentice to train in and/or cut back on hours.