Anthony’s Shoe Repair fixes more than just shoes
By Claire Harlin
Anthony Khattar may be in the shoe repair business, but sometimes the job feels like that of a miracle worker.
“Every day there’s something unique people bring me,” said the owner of Anthony’s Shoe Repair, which has locations in the Del Mar Highlands Town Center, Solana Beach and Carmel Mountain Ranch. “I’ve worked on leather chairs, baby strollers, you name it. People think, ‘Take it to Anthony’s. They can fix anything.’”
Anthony’s has made a name for itself in the community as a go-to place to get shoes repaired, cleaned, resized or relined, and it’s no wonder customers have begun considering Khattar’s handiwork for other needs. For a home inspector, he recently made custom, heavy-duty tool belts with pockets to hold brochures, an iPod and phone. He has also been served the honor of sewing YMCA Indian Guide and Indian Princess patches on kids’ vests, as well as sewing a mural on a customer’s Jeep spare tire cover.
While the unique jobs add variety to Khattar’s day, his successful chain of shoe repair shops have become popular because they get the job done on shoes, whether that means totally saving a designer shoe that became a dog’s lunch or re-sizing equestrian boots for a pro rider.
“Sometimes we get to the point where we fix someone’s shoes so many times that they are beyond repair and they still talk me into fixing them one more time,” said Khattar, 48.
An Illinios native, Khattar had an early start in his field. His father owned a shoe repair business and Khattar used to watch him work for hours on end.
“It’s in my DNA,” said Khattar. “I was always observing my father, but he wouldn’t let me touch anything. It wasn’t until my teens that I was hands on.”
When he was older he got into the business himself. He had been fixing shoes while in school studying business and photography at a junior college in Illinios, but it wasn’t until he visited San Diego with friends in the 1980s that he fell in love with the city. He returned very soon after to start a shoe repair shop here, but in the meantime he hired a manager to run his shop in Illinois. Khattar was encouraged to see that in his first year open in Solana Beach, at 671 Lomas Santa Fe Dr., he far exceeded the sales from his original shop in Illinois.
Nearly 25 years later, Khattar is still making things better —2012 so far has been his best year regarding sales, and he said that word of mouth has been his best method of advertisement.
“So, I guess I’ve been doing something right,” he said.
Khattar said he and his crew really enjoy the challenge that comes along with fixing people’s footwear. You never know what customers are going to bring you, he said, and it often entails a major redesign.
“When people bring something in that’s not up to their standards, I always try to exceed their expectations when they get it back,” he said. “We stand by our work and we will do it over and over again if it’s not right.”
Anthony’s Shoe Repair has moved to a new location just a few shops down from where his business stood for more than 10 years in the Del Mar Highlands Town Center, and Khattar said the move has helped business by increasing the visibility of the space.
For more information on the Del Mar Highlands location in Carmel Valley (12925 El Camino Real, San Diego, 92130), call (858) 350-7506. For information on the Solana Beach location, call (858) 259-2023.