A humble shoe repair business that has helped people in Christchurch put their best foot forward for 144 years is on the move.

The McGregor family has operated McGregors Footwear Repairs at 27 Lincoln Rd, Hillmorton, for more than 60 years. 

“It’s been a good ol’ girl, but it’s probably done its dash,” Adam McGregor told Newshub.

The old building was opened as a shoe repair shop on April 29, 1880.

“It (was) started in 1880 by a guy called George Thomas, who lived in the back here, with a shop out the front,” McGregor told Newshub.

Now the McGregors have moved their operation to a new shop at 5/37 Shands Rd in Hornby.

“It’s got running hot water, that’s a novelty. And a toilet, in the building,” said McGregor.

In 1956, McGregor’s father was in his 20s, already a cobbler and keen to go out on his own. He would pass the Lincoln Rd business while biking to work each day.

“Dad walked in here – the guy’s name was Eddie Beach – and said: ‘Would you like to sell your business, I’m quite keen to buy it?’”

“Eddie said: ‘Nah, no way’. Well bugger me, a month later he had a heart attack, didn’t die, and got hold of dad and said: ‘Do you want to buy it?’”

McGregor’s father purchased the store using a £500 loan from his mum.

“It was meant to be,” he told Newshub.

But McGregor never had any intention of following the same career path.

“I wasn’t going to stay very long, but I said to the old man: ‘I’ll come and help you for a wee while’. That was 43 years ago.”

Despite the current economic times, business is still booming. So much so, McGregor needs more space to work around.

“Every year I think that might change – it might get quieter and that, but it doesn’t. It just stays the same.”

In summer, wait times are usually a week. In winter, the workload means that extends to a month.

“It’s always been busy the whole time.

“I have spent 40 years of my life in this building – but I am happy to move on. Definitely.”

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