I’m Fred Ruvolo. I’m the owner of the Village Cobbler Shoppe here in downtown Riverhead. I have been for the last 47 years. It’s a daily grind and it’s a great neighborhood to work in. There’s a lot of great people who come in every day.
Every day is a different challenge. Mostly it’s shoe repair, purse repair, shortening of belts, mainly shoes. But there’s a lot of miscellaneous, different things that we do, like fixing a dog collar, repairing a purse. One day, someone could bring in a tennis net or a baseball glove, depending on the season. It just goes on. You never know what the day will bring.
I started as a young fellow part time after school and it led into a career. Back then, your parents didn’t groom you to go to school. They told you to go out and get a job. And that’s what I did. I went out and got a job. Did I know it was going to be a lifetime? No. But it has turned out to be a lifetime.
Riverhead never ceases to amaze me. One of the things I’ve come to learn is that I have a great respect for farmers. I never knew about them until I came into the area.
I have acquired a lot of old things that I find interesting from the people that come in. The generosity is sometimes overwhelming, how nice people can be. Last week I had someone come in to give me a shoe press that was used to glue soles. It was her father’s. He was a bus driver in the city and he used to repair his own shoes. She wanted to find a home for her father’s shoe press, so she brought it in here.
My favorite part of owning my shop … well, I honestly have to say my ability to be my own boss my whole life was always a major thing from when I was a young person. I didn’t take directions from other people very well.
I don’t think I could’ve done any better being any place else because Riverhead has been very good to me over the years.
Village Cobbler Shoppe is located at 149 Griffing Ave, Riverhead.