On the corner of 7th Avenue and 3A Street in downtown San José, sits one of the oldest and few remaining shoe repair shops in the city. Although it has been at this location for the past 10 years, the Reparadora Barrio Amón has been in business for more than 50 years. It was started by the great-grandfather of cousins Carlos, 70, and Ricardo, 50. Several family members have learned the profession, but most are no longer living. Don Carlos’ older brother died a year ago.
Nelson, 20, is the newest member of the team, and although he is not family, he says he is willing to learn.
In addition to shoes, the shop fixes purses, bags, backpacks and almost any leather item. Dozens of customers stop by the shop every day.
“It’s amazing how some younger people are ashamed of some professions, but they are not ashamed of asking for money on the streets. There is work for everybody if you are willing to do it,” says Don Carlos.