Well heeled Loughborough shoe repairers marks 20 year anniversary

A LOUGHBOROUGH shoe repairer to the stars is proving how well heeled his business is by marking his 20th anniversary.

Andy Rice, 47, owner of Carillon Court Shoe Repairs in Carillon Court Shopping Centre and Andy Rice & Sons Ltd, was congratulated on his staying power by Loughborough MP Nicky Morgan.

Starting as an apprentice with the British Shoe Corporation more than 30 years ago, Andy has served the likes of Hollywood actor Stephen Graham, cricketer David Gower, and even specially adapted trainers for members of Team GB’s shot putting squad for London 2012.

Andy, who is married to Liz and has two sons, Jack, 13, and Finley, nine, first dipped his toe into self employment in 1993 after he was made redundant. He now has a busy business empire of five outlets in and around the Loughborough area including the Carillon Court store which is now in its 15th year.

His team, made up of nine employees, not only repair shoes but also do watch repairs and batteries, key cutting, engraving and stock leather and travel goods.

Andy, who lives in Rothley, said: “Myself and my team, who I train up myself from scratch, are highly skilled in what we do and can turn our hand to more or less anything.

“I have had some unusual requests over the years including most recently a visit from Shaun Pickering who is the son of the former BBC television broadcaster Ron Pickering.

“He had these size 15 trainers from one of the London 2012 shot putters he was coaching for the Olympics and he needed certain grip on the soles. One set for the wet weather and one set for the dry so they were prepared for different conditions.

“When they spin round, they are obviously on one point of the foot and it is that area which needed particular attention and it had to be right.

“It wasn’t something that I had done before but I promised to do my best for him and he was very pleased with the end result. He later told me they had worked really well.”

In his time, Andy has worked on all manner of footwear from dancing shoes to workmen’s boots.

He said: “The largest size I have ever worked on is a 16 and that was for a gentleman at the Carillon Court store. The smallest was for a lady who was a size two and had to buy children’s shoes. But I have had some ladies with size 11 or 12. Everyone is different.”

Nicky Morgan, Conservative MP for Loughborough, made a special trip to the Carillon Court store to offer her support and congratulations to Andy for his business longevity.

She said: “I congratulate Andy on reaching the twenty year mark running his business, it is a tremendous achievement.

“It is encouraging to see a local business such as this flourishing and reaching such a significant milestone.

“I would encourage people to carry on using local shops and support local businesses such as Andy’s as they provide a great service to the local community.”

Also offering her congratulations is Baljit Kooner, Carillon Court Manager, who said: “Carillon Court Shoe Repairs is a very valued business in the centre and I quite often see a queue of people there waiting for the team’s help there.

“Andy offers a very valued service and I know his loyal customers think very highly of him. I would like to congratulate him on his 20th anniversary and we look forward to many more years of successful business.

“We all strive together to provide a good service for our visitors and people like Andy play a very important role in this.”

Andy is particularly proud of the financial investment and time he puts in with his staff who he trains himself.

He said: “I could open another 50 shops if I wanted to and just stick anyone in there but for me, that it not the right way to do things.

“It costs me a lot of money but I like to give the right people a chance and if I train them from the beginning then I can pass on my knowledge and high standards which is essential to the success of the business.

“I think this is really the key to the success of the business. Our standards never go down. I have been using the same top quality materials for the last 30 odd years and I am not about to stop now.

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