Enter Gus and Company’s shoe and leather repair shop and you may notice a man working behind the front counter. Depending on the day, this man might be patiently stitching a bag,laboring over a zipper or reconstructing a shoe.
Slightly rumpled in appearance with glasses defying gravity from their perch at the base of his nose, this man’s identity is heralded by the protective apron he wears that reads, “Tony, Master Cobbler”.
Tony Verile, has been an intergral part of Gus and Company staff for decades.
Meeting him, you feel as if you are being introduced to master cobber/craftsman from days gone by. Watching him work you realize this man personifies his cobbler title as evidenced by the meticulous handiwork he accomplishes on leather projects large and small.
Gus and Company Owner, Greg Vaccaro, acknowledges the continued success
of his repair shop is due in great part to the talents of staff members, like Tony. At the same time, it is clear from the easy-going interaction between owner and employee,Tony not only serves as one of Greg’s most trusted craftsman, he is a valued friend as well.
In-between filming video interviews, I watched Tony move through his work day. Without pause, he fielded leather repairs with what seemed like innate instinct as much as learned craft. His talent reminded me that these days, accomplished craftsman are not always the standard in such businesses, between the evolution of computerized machines and the advent of low-cost leather goods, easier to trash than repair.
While Gus and Company is far from a museum setting, watching Tony work was like witnessing an artist in motion.
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