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SSIA Articles

Customer Service

by Dana Huval, Huval's Boot and Shoe Repair,

Crowley, LA

SSIA's 104th Annual Convention in Los Angeles had many suppliers showing all the products that will help us have better shops with great products to offer.

Soletech had Mitchellace General Shoe laces. Did you know you could get a shoe lace card showing all the colors and styles of laces simply by asking your wholesaler for it? They have also introduced the red-sole protector this year for us to spoil our Christian Louboutin customers by extending the life of their favorite red soled shoes. A sample or their rubber soles and heels were on display for you to see what they have available for us. Soletech can be reached at 603-542-8905 or use their website


Healix Care offers a variety of insoles that are shock absorbing, breathable, durable, anti-fungal, anti-odor and comfortable. They have a variety of insoles with minimal support and soft heel gels with maximum support. The top covers on these foot beds are Silvertecc, which is made from special fibers that will not tear or damage your skin. A second type of foot bed cover is made from bambooTecc which is a natural anti-micro bacterial top cover. Healix Care is a division of Ploy-Gel and they can be reached at 1-866-438-2297 or on their website

Pedifex offers a full line of the foot products from toe separators, toe spacers, toe crest, corn pads, gel bunions guards along with a full line of creams and gel step insoles to help your customers with their aching feet. They can be reached at 845-277-2850, or check out their website

Shoe Systems Plus has been offering us a full line of equipment to run our shops from finishers with attachments that will make our lives easier with carbide wheels for major grinding projects, to scotch brite wheel (pictured below) that can make our finish work look smooth as silk. If you have not invested in a press yet, they offer bench top models that can be hand cranked or powered by an air compressor. Stitchers are available, along with other sewing machines for all of us to use for our sewing jobs. Fume busters are another item they offer to help our health. They take all the bad air from glues and sprays outside or with a charcoal filter system. Toni and Blasé have been offering us their service for over 20 years. Call them toll free 1-800-354-6378 or log on to their website

Foam Tex has the blue cleaner that cleans everything. It works excellent on suede, leather, canvas and vinyl. You simply use their foam bottle, pump some out, and pass it on the item you are cleaning. You can use a horse hair dauber or a plastic bristle brush depending on what type of leather or suede item you are trying to clean. Call Don or Alan at 216-889-2702.

Moneysworth and Best had a huge display of the products they carry. They offer everything from water sealers, mink oils, cream polishes, coat cleaners and protectors, as well as spray dyes in over 50 colors, brushes, suede products and even a nice assortment of insoles, for us to offer to our customers. You can call them at  905-265-0650 or log on to their web site

Positek Incorporated will make your life easier by computerizing your shop. You will log in your customers information, click on the repairs needed, and print a ticket for the repaired items along with a ticket for your customer. This system will allow you to track daily, weekly and monthly sales. It can also track your daily work allowing you to check during the day to see what items are still needing your attention before it is due back to the customer. This system have been customized by the Lipson brothers out of St. Louis, which means we have the advantage of having a huge assortment of repairs already inputted in the system when it arrives in your shop and is ready to go. This system even has the capability to email your customers when their repairs are ready. They do offer training if you are not familiar with computers and they have the capability to adjust your computer from their corporate headquarters in Pennsylvania. A leasing program is also offered. Contact them on their website or call 1-800-451-8431

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Topy – This company from France showed their red sole guard material along with a nice prepack of black sole guards and heels for us to test their products. I was even lucky enough to get a nice thick Topy apron to wear in my shop. Their phone number in Paris is 011-33-1-462-10520 or log on to their website

SRE Leather and Goodyear rubber has a new employee. Dennis Queen, formerly of Florida Leather, has joined SRE to promote the soles, sole protectors, heels, top lifting material along with the crepe sheet they offer.  Leather is also a main product they offer with S&R Italian soles and combination heels. Native Tan and Eagle flex are another option for us along with the blue diamond adhesives they offer. Roland or Dennis can be reached at 925-284-5731 or their web address is

Lincoln Shoe Polish – Mrs. Clair and Mr. Mannie have come to our shows year after year demonstrating their cleaners, dyes and paste polishes. Did you know the Black paste polish is United States Marine Core approved?  Look at the can, it is written on there!  Lincoln offers us many colors of leather dyes, paste polishes and a great Lincoln E-Z cleaner. The cleaner is best when you shake the bottle, pour it in a cup or bowl and use a horse hair dauber to apply it on the leather or suede surface until a lather forms. When you have achieved your lather, simply wipe it off with a clean rag, let the article dry and it will dry to a clean piece of leather.  For more information contact the Rice’s at 408-732-5120 or visit their website

Surefoot had live demonstrations with Mr. Robert DiRinaldo, Grand Silver Cup winner. He showed us how to repair shoes with Fast Fix glue. Along with using the fast fix press, we are able to fix shoes so we can confidently return them to our customers without ever worrying about them coming apart. As his seminar says, we are able to repair the unrepairables. Sure foot also offers us a nice line of shoe laces, DiRinaldo choice glue, insoles, walk-on cloud products and punch shoe care products. Surefoot can be reached at 701-775-9560 or visit

Guard Industires: Neil Dotzenrod displayed a full table of items we all need to run successful shops. If you are looking for tassels,  straps that attach to the tassels, leather hides, shoe bows, cabin brand insoles (the athletic ones are my favorite quality).  They also carry my favorite scissors!  If you do not have a pair, next time you place an order with your wholesaler treat yourself to a pair of the large OLFA shears. Your hands will love you for them. These scissors will cut your patch leather and strapping clean. For more information call Guard at 314-534-6952 or check out their website

Vibram – if you’re doing any type of rocker sole, Vibram has just made your life easier. It is made from PU material that will not break down. It is oil resistant and waterproof!  This neat invention is available in 36 and 18 iron with and is called the Memphsi Rocker.   Prepare your shoe as normal.  Apply the 1328 outsole (called the Elvis) to the Rocker.  As if that were not great enough, they have also introduced a Newporter sole that is a 12 iron outsole.  This outsole has passed SATRA testing, which is needed for approval in the restaurant business.  Vibram also has a selection of soles for the fireman, work and outdoor markets.  The team at Vibram/Quabaug can be reached at 508-867-7731 or view their website

Fiebing had all of their shoe related items ready for any repair person so they can gain proper instruction on the use of their products. LeatherColors are the newest invention from Fiebing. This new dye formula is a low VOC (Volatile Organic Compounds) leather dye which is available in 12 colors for us to use. This dye is approved for use in California which means it will benefit us in a healthy way. Fiebing also gives us professional oil dyes, sole dressings, saddle soaps, cleaners and conditioners for us to use and offer to our customers. Fiebing's phone number is 414-271-5011 and their web address is

Petronio has my favorite shop item in the Masters spray shine. It is the perfect final touch for any shoe or boot shine. It gives that high gloss finish for all your work to look better than new. Petronio had glue cans on display in case your needed clarification on which glue was better to use for different materials. Mr. Don can be reached at 973-751-7579 or view his site at

Renia – For any challenging item you receive, Renia has a solution for you. They offer Synthic, Colle de Cologne , as well as Ortec glue, which does not contain tolulene. Renia also has “how too” videos on their website courtesy of Jimmy McFarland, a third generation shoe repairer, who goes over each and ever glue along with how to use it on which materials. Renia can be reached in Germany 011-49-221-630799-0 or their web address is

JR Leather offers a longer lasting sole for our customers. I like to think of them as the Lexus level of leather. JR actually owns the cows, raises them, and keeps them safe and happy so they do not have any markings to damage the leather. In their tanning process, the hides are then buried a year underground. The way they tan these hides makes them last much longer, giving your customer a great upgrade for their sole choice.

For information on JR Leather, call Jim McFarland, his number is 863-644-6395 and their web address is Click on the tanning process and watch how they are tanned. The following picture is from Ray Torcaso, the 3rd place winner at the SSIA show in LA.


Powerstep demonstrated their pinnacle replacement insole. This insole offers foot control, spring and life long cushioning for great comfort. It has a prescription level of support, stabilizing heel contours and an anti-slip and anti-microbial fabric top cover. They do offer their original insole along with a ¾ slimteck for comfort for any dress shoe. For more information call 888-237-3668, or you can log onto

Image of Powerstep

Artisian is a California commercial and industrial sewing machine company. They had many machines on display for us to try out. They also offer needles, bobbins, cases, belts, light bulbs and thread guides for any shop in need of those items. To contact Artisian call 323-838-1408 or to view their website

Zaps offers a microwaveable insole. This unique insole will maximize comfort balance and performance. It will also reduce fatigue, pain and injury. The neat thing about these insoles; when you microwave them, you add a covering to the arch area so it will heat to gel. Then stand on it so the arch will form to you foot. Any excess gel will squeeze out of the bottom for you to easily remove after it has cooled. For more information on these insoles, contact Masterfit enterprises at  They may also be reached by calling 914-944-9038.

Landesman Brothers had a huge assortment of any kind of shoe care or repair item you could want. They offer numerous items such as rubber soles, cleaners, laces, daubers, and brushes, just to name a few. They have really specialized in the orthopedic field, offering basically anything needed for our wholesalers to carry for our shops. Roberta can be reached at 516-889-1500, or view her website at or

Angelus – This 100 year old company is still coming out with new products for us to use. I was impressed with the pens they offer. Think of a marker-pen. The end pops off and you can fill it with your leather dye, this pen can be used to fill in any hard to reach small area. Some other new items, they have a gel cleaner with the neatest tip on it. You can clean a shoe without ever touching the gel. Best of all they have introduced a military edge ink created for the high gloss military boots. This VOC compliant edge ink is great on leather soles also. Paul can be called at 562-229-0521 and his website is

Cadillac – One of the things that interested me the most at Cadillac was the shoe horns they offer. We can have our names imprinted on these shoe horns and give (or sell) them to our customers. They will be a special order through your wholesaler. Cadillac has a full line of shoe care items for our shops. They offer us shoe creams, paste polish, weather guards, leather balm in a larger container along with a larger cleaner just to name a few of their products. Tom can be reached at 800-966-3338 or click on their site



Kiwi introduced a closet scent. It comes in three scents that can be inserted in a shoe box or in your closet. If you ever have a chance to watch “How It’s Made” on the History and Discovery Channel, keep an eye out for an episode on Kiwi. How they make their paste polish is quite interesting. Kiwi has been a long time supplier for cream and paste shoes polishes. They also offer a full line of shoes dyes, shine brushes and just about any other shoe care item we will ever need. Maurice can be reached at Sara lee Household number 312-326-4113 or

Paste Polish

Boris Shoe Components Supply – This company is out of San Francisco CA, they offer combonation, Varese,Ultra and KJ long life heels. They have a selection of half soles, full soles and midsole materials. EVA, Dalsoft and soling sheets are available from them as well. They can be reached at 415-566-3454 or

SFS Associates Inc – SFS offers Coats thread for our sewing machines, Barbor Red Hand Linen for our stitchers, SFS thread along with Jaeger Elastic for us to offer better repairs for our customers. Dan can be reached at 1-314-531-1830.

Datatoolz, Inc – This company offers a computer system that can help with labels, tickets and tag printers. It can help with inventory in your shop. They have it designed in a way that you can control it by location and category. This will also help you when it is time to re-order products and supplies. For more information, Scott at 1-714-840-1797, they also have a website at


SSIA's 105th Annual Convention will be held in Baltimore, MD. Make plans to attend July 18 and 19, 2009.

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