6 April 2023

Unique service, bespoke products and a diverse approach is the key for Wagga's Cobbler Rd

| Chris Roe
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Cobblers Road

Hayley and Mick Veitch at Cobbler Rd will have a crack at fixing almost anything. Photo: Chris Roe.

For Cobbler Rd co-owners Hayley and Mick Veitch, necessity has been the mother of invention as the couple has successfully adapted the business in response to tough economic times.

As well as promising a variety of repairs, their busy Baylis Street shop showcases a unique collection of bespoke gifts and Mick is kept busy fixing boots from all across the Riverina.

“In some ways, it’s a dying trade,” says Mick of the shoe repair business.

“A lot of people just throw them away; it’s a certain person who gets their shoes fixed.”

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But as other crafts dwindle, Hayley says there is an expanding list of different things in need of a skilled repairer.

“We get a lot of unique repairs that people think can’t be done today,” she says.

“So we can do suitcases, boxing bags, golf bags, dog harnesses. We’ve got a saddle out the back at the moment and we’ve also restored a violin case, so we do all different stuff.”

Cobbler rd

Cobbler Rd has diversified and thrived. Photo: Supplied.

After starting out with a mall kiosk franchise, the couple moved to a more affordable Baylis Street location when the Global Financial Crisis hit.

Hayley says the tough economic times forced them to diversify.

“Because the GFC had hit so hard, we had to come up with a way to be different in Wagga, so we decided to trial handmade giftware and keep our repairs in the background going,” she explained.

“It just took off and we soon expanded.”

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They also saw a growing need for their services across the wider Riverina and established a couple of “shoe repair depots” in different towns.

“In the Riverina a lot of the farmers who always wear boots find they can’t get into town. We thought we have to go out and get the work and bring it to us,” Hayley says.

“We set up online as well and then when COVID hit, that’s when we opened up a couple more depots.”

Cobbler Rd

Cobbler Rd receives boots from all across the Riverina. Photo: Chris Roe.

While the combination of bushfires and then the pandemic had an initial impact on business, the Vietchs were surprised that things quickly turned around as online orders began flooding in and the boot depots boomed.

“We were delivering daily, driving all over town dropping off giftware, repairs, birthday presents,” she says.

“I think we were very lucky because we offer so many different services.”

Another growing market that Cobbler Rd caters to is personalised gifts and the store boasts a high-end CNC engraver that is working overtime adding names and messages to leather, glass and timber gifts.

Mick says they also pick up a surprising amount of work thanks to dodgy online engravers.

“So many people come in from ordering things online asking us to fix things where they got the wrong date,” he says.


Cobbler Rd sells a unique variety of gifts that can all be customised. Photo: Chris Roe.

When asked what has been their most unusual commission, Hayley and Mick exchange a look and drop their voices to a whisper, naming an item perhaps best not included in print.

“That one was a Secret Santa present at Christmas time,” Hayley laughs.

“That was certainly the most unique, but we get everything and anything and some of the messages are so funny!”

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