Shoe repair shop looks for new cobbler following immigration dispute

Palm Desert shoe repair shop looks for n

PALM DESERT, Calif. - “He’s our production, he’s the maestro. This is an art that's been lost,” said Damares Contreras, clerk at Mario's Shoe Repair in Palm Desert.

Mario’s Shoe Repair in El Paseo could begin the season off on the wrong foot as the sole of their business may not be allowed back into the United States

“He’s in the process of fixing his papers, he has to go back," Contreras said. "It’s part of the procedure, the issue is we don’t know if he’s going to be coming back.”

Martin is the only cobbler at Mario’s who handles the 75 to 100 leather items that come into the store every week.

“Resoling shoes to adding zippers, purses, golf bags and golf shoes and everything is done by him,” Contreras said.

A Mexican national, Martin is trying to establish United States citizenship.

“They have to do drug testing, blood testing, psychological test, and if they think that he’s ok to come back to the states,“ Contreras said.

Other local businesses want to see Martin continue his work

“He does great work, that's what my customers tell me," said Steve Bartley, owner of Affordable Optics in  Palm Desert. "I think he should be allowed to keep doing what he’s doing”

Now Mario’s is trying to find a new cobbler before having to shut their doors during the peak season.

“Customers are very happy with his work, we’re sorry he has to go but we’re hoping we can find someone who’s as good as him,” Contreras said.

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