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SSIA Articles

Looking Back at SSIA's 104th Annual Convention

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

Crowley, LA

Every July, our shoe repair family gets together for the SSIA convention. But it really feels more like a family reunion except most of us are not related. I’m lucky though. I have only two sisters and because of the SSIA, I feel as though I have lots and lots of brothers. It’s a great organization to be a part of.

The show started off with a seminar presented by Blase Knabl from Shoe Systems Plus. He showed us how to solve many of the machinery challenges we have. Robert DiRinaldo, Grand Silver Cup winner and demonstrator for Surefoot's Fast Fix glue, gave a seminar on repairing the unrepairables.

We then held our yearly brunch and Silver Cup ceremony. Awards were given honoring all of the Silver Cup winners. During the brunch we thanked Jim McFarland of Lakeland, Florida, whose term as repairer on the board has ended. We then welcomed Gino Mina, Indianapolis, Indiana, who will replace Jim on the board.

David Stern, owner of Stern's Shoe Repair shops, gave a very interesting seminar on how to make more money. Lenny Gershater of Point of Sale Systems demonstrated how their computer system can track the repair work in your shop, manage your inventory and basically help you have a more efficient shop. Jim McFarland ended the morning of seminars with identifying material and bonding solutions from Petronio and Renia glues. Jim has certainly figured out an easy guideline to match the correct glue with individual materials so we can offer good repairs with proper adhesion.

The hall of exhibitors was open all afternoon. Suppliers  demonstrated products, handed out samples along with new catalogs and flyers, and showed all the products they have to offer.

Gene Burten of Burten Distribution in Los Angeles, threw a cocktail party unlike any we have ever had. He had a carving station with the best little sandwiches of turkey and pork with all the trimming. There was a table of fresh fruit, various cheeses and crackers, and chocolate covered strawberries. He even had a bar offering your favorite beverage. Gene also had a few tables set up with complimentary shirts and caps showing the Burten Distribution logo. Many thanks for this super special treat and opportunity to socialize with friends.

For the second day of our show, Saderma also treated us to a wonderful breakfast. We thank them so much for hosting a great breakfast for all of us in attendance to enjoy.

Sunday morning started off with another great seminar by Blase Knabl. This seminar was focused on the stitchers we use with tips on how to keep them running smoothly.

Tom Giamalva, with Tauer and Johnson, gave a seminar on how their shoes can be ordered for hard-to-fit customers by building a customized shoe.

Saving the best for last was the Silver Cup seminar. We had eight Silver Cup winners attend our show -- 1997 winner Jean Van Passel, 2001 winner Jules Van Passel, Robert DiRinaldo 1987 and 2004 Grand Silver Cup winner, 2002 winner Jim McFaland, 2003 winner Larry Schupbach, 2005 winner Chuck Bolinger, 2006 winner Gino Gentile and our current Silver Cup winner Peter Holmer from Sweden.

For this seminar, Robert explained in detail the score sheets and offered tips and suggestions on how to win this wonderful contest. Entering the silver cup contest will give you up to three opinions from past Silver Cup winners. By reading your score sheets, you can take their suggestions, acknowledge the fine work you are doing and improve on the areas you are weak in. We all do good work or we would not continue to be in business, but the contest is designed for us to improve on our work.

Next month I will have an article on the exhibitors from the show. I will tell you all about the new items offered as well as other neat things I saw or learned about during the show.

  © 2005 Shoe Service Institute of

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