Shoe repair business comes to Cecil

Shawano couple moves footwear-fixing operation from Sheboygan to be closer to home
Lynn Zaffrann

Although the building at 206 N. Lemke St. in Cecil shows the former Main Event Banquet Hall logo, it has a new focus as The Main Event Venue, which now houses City Shoe Repair and More.

Jeff and Elsie Moser purchased the building in May 2021 and remodeled the front section to house their business. Although new to Cecil, City Shoe Repair and More has been in business since 2011, located in Sheboygan.

Bringing a shoe repair shop to Cecil was a huge endeavor for the Mosers. They worked over the summer to move equipment piece by piece from their original Sheboygan location, while continuing to do repairs for customers who live from Sheboygan to Shawano and the Wausau area.

“Every week, we were still doing business, but moved as much as we could,” said Jeff Moser. “On Sept. 11, we did one massive move of the heavy stuff (with help from church members), and then we were pretty much done.”

Living in Shawano and traveling daily to their Sheboygan location had become a hardship. Elsie Moser adamantly stated she was done with the travel, and that was the impetus to move to Cecil.

The new-to-Cecil business celebrated with a grand opening and ribbon cutting ceremony on Oct. 29.

As far as the Mosers know, their business offers the only shoe repairs in Shawano and Marathon counties. “It’s a dying business,” according to Jeff Moser, but “it’s a niche business, at the same time.”

“Shoe repair is a trade,” he said. “There used to be a school in the Milwaukee area that taught cobbling.”

Jeff Moser learned the skills from an older tradesman at Molly’s Cobbler in Sheboygan. They started the business in their garage in 2011, and its growth since then is testament to the need for their services.

Moving from Sheboygan hasn’t caused any fall-off in their business, according to Jeff Moser. Elsie Moser added: “Our footprint is bigger here.”

The Mosers offer free pickup of items that need repair. There is a drop-off collection point at their house in Shawano at 613 W. Green Bay St. After the repairs are completed, they return the restored items to the customer, also free of charge. Another perk is that they do a free polish of the shoes they repair.

The shop offers professional shoe repairs, using traditional cobbler tools. Repairs are made to boots, shoes and other footwear. In addition to general footwear repairs, the couple does restoration/repairs for purses, leather chaps, baseball glove and accessories, such as knife sheaths and belts. Replacing Velcro, zippers and elastic to restore products is also offered.

Jeff Moser handles the cobbling chores, while Elsie Moser sews, mends and repairs zippers, torn Velcro and purse straps, for example. She said that she’s particularly fond of repairing damage to items caused by dog chewing because of how well she can restore these items.

Elsie Moser is committed to performing repairs “as good as I would like it.” She said they bring new life to the items they repair, as shown by the repeat customers they serve.

In addition to repairs, the business also sells new Thorogood Boots, manufactured in Merrill, and is a dedicated repair hub for restoring that brand’s damaged boots. Other items for sale are shoe accessories, such as laces and polishes. There is a large selection of shoes restored by Jeff Moser and purses given a new life by Elsie Moser. She shops locally for damaged shoes, purses, belts and other items and resells them in the store after they are returned to almost-new condition.

The new Main Street Venue also houses Freedom Market, a bulk food store, operated by Kathy and Mary Bontrager.