Business of the week: This Newington Green cobbler shirks banks to accommodate customers

Ahmet Kamil runs High Class Shoes in Newington Green. Picture: Lucas Cumiskey

Ahmet Kamil runs High Class Shoes in Newington Green. Picture: Lucas Cumiskey - Credit: Archant

From start-ups to household names, the Gazette takes to the streets each week to find and profile a local business with a difference. This week we spoke to a Newington Green cobbler who has been fixing and flogging shoes to the community for the past 35 years.

Ahmet Kamil’s father founded High Class Shoe Repairs, trained him, and then bequeathing his boy the business.

“It’s nice working with friendly local people who you understand,” said Ahmet, who grew up in Clissold Crescent.

“When a customer brings their shoes in I can never understand exactly what’s in their mind – but 99 per cent of the time I get it right.”

He said the shops gets a lot of familiar faces, with about 20pc coming from passing trade.

Ahmet added: “In the beginning the shop just sold shoes but in business you have to adapt to what the customer wants, so now we sell keys too.”

“Customers have lots of choice, of course, but they should come here because of the high quality of my work. I get self-satisfaction from doing a job well.

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“I have been teased over the years that another shop is going to open up next door – but could they compete wih my craftsmanship?”

Ahmet sat he only deals in cash because he doesn’t “want to deal with the banks”, adding this allows him to keep prices low.

“When new customers come in they love the place because it’s original,” he said. “It’s unlike these modern places.”