XENIA — Xenia Shoe & Leather Repair owner Matthew Jopson and his staff take customer service to another level.
Besides basic shoe sales and leather repairs, Xenia Shoe is in the business of making modifications for customers. Recently, the store downtown — which has been in existence since 1982 — was given an important assignment to undertake.
The business had to dive into the process of making modifications to the lateral side of a right shoe for a customer with plates and screws in her right ankle.
According to Jopson, the entire process of the right shoe modification took a few hours to complete. It was the third time the customer had such a modification done.
“We have made custom modifications on shoes, boots, jackets, purses, and other durable goods for years,” Jopson said. “We often offer solutions such as that Achilles Notch to a customer who is having trouble making something comfortable. People know we can modify, stretch, and adjust their shoes to help their fit and comfort.”
Jopson stressed that knowledge is the key to completing all modifications.
He and his staff have to know how items are not only made, but also dismantled. Materials and changes that make items comfortable for customers is very important, he said. Sewing and cutting skills factor into the equation, too.
“Having an idea on how long something might take is critical,” Jopson said. “Time is the greatest factor in pricing a job.”
Jopson, who has worked at the business for 15 years and became owner on Jan. 1, said modifications will continue to be an ongoing aspect of Xenia Shoe’s everyday business practices.
“Customers have individual tastes and needs. We are glad to do what we can to help make things more comfortable, durable, or useful, be it shoes, or any other item that you couldn’t modify at home,” Jopson said. “Stretching, adjusting insoles and padding, support pieces (orthotics), and modifying, all at a fair price, will always be part of what we do.”
Like many other small businesses, the COVID-19 pandemic has been hard on Xenia Shoe. Continuing to push both employees and customers to follow masking and social distancing guidelines is part of the business plan for 2021, he explained.
In order to continue to survive, especially during these times, there are various procedures that all small businesses must learn to follow, the store owner explained. Xenia Shoe is no different. Jopson knows that.
“We need to stay productive on our repairs and we need to keep excellent products in stock for the workers and the comfort-seekers of our community,” Jopson said. “I like to think of us as curators. We select the comfortable, durable products people need on their feet everyday.”
The difficulties of 2020 have presented Jopson with some more knowledge. Despite the challenges, Jopson knows what the business must do to survive.
“We have to just keep on taking good care of people. Word spreads,” he said.
At the moment, no further changes are in the making for Xenia Shoe. But Jopson knows the rest of 2021 could lead to more opportunity for success.
He said, “We want to continue the tradition of providing the high level of customer care and craftsmanship that folks have come to expect from us.”
Reach Darryl McGee at 937-502-4534