The Work We Do: Fred Ruvolo, Village Cobbler Shoppe

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. 

“The Work We Do” is a News-Review multimedia project profiling workers around Riverhead Town. It is made possible by Peconic Landing in Greenport. See more photos on Instagram @riverheadnewsreview