Barrington Cobbler

361. If the Shoe Fits, Fix It!

Home Newsroom 361. If the Shoe Fits, Fix It!

I found it! I’ve searched high and low while writing this blog for the past 361 days and I finally found THE SOLE of Barrington. It’s housed in a little shop that you’ve surely passed a million times. One step inside and you’ll be shocked by the sharp smell of shoe polish and the sense that you’ve stepped back in time. A quick ding of the old brass desk bell on the counter reveals one of Barrington’s best kept secrets, as shoe repair man, Leonid Gokhberg, steps out from the back.

Barrington Cobbler

Leon moved from the Ukraine to Chicago back in 1979.  Take one look at his hardened hands and you’ll begin to see his story in his black stained fingertips.

Barrington Cobbler

Leon started his work as a tool and die repair man when he was just 16-years-old. He mastered his craft in Russia and the Ukraine before moving to the U.S. over 30 years ago.  When Leon found an opportunity in Barrington years later, he took it.

Shoe Repair Shop in Barrington, IllinoisHe bought the neighborhood shoe repair shop from the previous owner ten years ago and has been fixing the worn soles of Barrington ever since. The shop has been around in Barrington for over 60 years, so there’s a lot of history here. It’s the only shoe repair shop in town, just south of Lake Cook Road on the east side of Hough Street in Barrington. Leon marks the changing seasons and the passage of time by the boots, sandals and latest footwear fashions that walk through his front door. And, in a world where jobs are becoming scarce, he says his shop’s success is a matter of supply and demand. “We’re are a dying breed. Shoe repair is like a lost art. From nothing, you can make something.” And he says the type of rare equipment he has in the back is on the road extinction. “There used to be hundreds of supply shops in Chicago and now I know just one.”

Shoe Repair Man in Barrington, Illinois

Leon’s customers come with more than just shoes. He has polish, leathers, laces, eyelets and hooks on hand to repair and shine purses, wallets, luggage, bags, belts and any other leather-goods that need fixing.

Shoe Repair in Barrington, Illinois

Leon let me peek in back at the machines, brushes and dyes that are the tools of his trade. I asked him to show me around as he shared his story and, within seconds, I was looking at a tiny picture of two little girls which he keeps tucked in his own worn leather wallet. Though Leon has the most impressive collection of precision tools I’ve ever seen, I quickly learned that it’s his two daughters and two granddaughters that really make him tick.

Shoe Repair Man in Barrington, Illinois

But if you really want to see something cool, ask Leon to show you the biggest shoe in Barrington. It’s covered with the dust of decades and was handmade years ago by one of Barrington’s former cobblers as a joke or, perhaps, for a giant client.

Barrington's Biggest Shoe

I kept pressing Leon for more details about the wearer of this whopping wing tip. He wouldn’t say much, but I can’t help but wonder about who has left us with such big shoes to fill. Even if the tale is tall let’s try to get one out of him. You can reach Leon by phone at 847-381-1170 and you’ll find Barrington Shoe Service at 113 S. Hough Street.

Giant Shoe at Barrington Shoe Service

There are no comments yet.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

365Barrington Sponsors

Featured Events

365Barrington Partners

From the Community

Swamp Sparrow that was seen on last week’s bird walk at Crabtree Nature Center. #swampsparrow #sparrow #sparrowsofinstagram #birding #birdingphotography #birdphotography #birdwalk #crabtreenaturecenter #citizensforconservation #365barrington ...

12 0

Blossom into spring with a new look 🌸 the gang is here and ready to see you! Click the 🔗 link in bio to book your appointment today. ⁠
. ⁠
#chicagosalon #chicagohair #chicagostylist #crystallake #crystallakesalon #crystallakehair #naturalsalon #naturalbeauty #naturalhaircare #avedahair #hairinspo #livedinhair #naturalhaircare #avedahaircare #aveda #avedacares #newsalon #avalonsalon #avedastylists #deerparktowncenter #salontoday #shopdeerpark #365barrington avaloncrystallake

6 0

Luby Group Listings

113 S Cook Street Barrington, IL 60010
Commercial For Sale
- Active

Retail storefront in prime pedestrian location in downtown Barrington surrounded by Village shopping, restaurants, and steps to the Metra train station. Great opportunity to own a high visibility space, currently vacant, ready for you to move in and

306 Hickory Lane #D Lake Barrington, IL 60010
Condo For Sale
- Active Under Contract

Beautifully updated Braeburn model with terrific views over the 11th green of the Lake Barrington Shores golf course! So many updates to enjoy including an open floor plan with rich hardwood floors and a full kitchen update featuring custom cabinetr

New Listing - 2 weeks online
1100 Prairie Avenue Barrington, IL 60010
Land For Sale
- Active

Great opportunity to build your dream home on a half acre in Barrington right down the street from Baker Lake and Ron Beese Park. Located just over a mile south of downtown Barrington, this rare waterfront location is a few blocks away from award-wi

20331 Ela Road Deer Park, IL 60010
Single Family Home For Sale
- Active Under Contract

Amazing value! Beautiful home on 5 acres and accessed by a private road. This unique home features new exterior stain and beautiful landscape views from every window. Many upgrades inc. updated kitchen with hickory cabinets, large center island, cori