Octogenarian cobbler rescues the soles of Beverly Hills

Sun May 17, 2015 8:10am EDT
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By Mary Milliken

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. (Reuters) - Arturo Azinian plucked a pair of Chanel pumps from a box full of shoes, unfazed by the leather peeling off the interlocking Cs on the toes or the tarnished metallic heels.

"These have a lot of miles on them, but they will be like new, for about $70," said Azinian, an 88-year-old Beverly Hills cobbler famous for saving the fancy footwear of the elite in the ritzy 90210 zip code.

Just steps from boutique-lined Rodeo Drive sits the decidedly unglamorous Arturo's Shoe Fixx, where the Argentine immigrant toils for 13 hours a day in a warren of whirring machines and shoes stacked to the ceiling.

A pair of men's Salvatore Ferragamo caramel lace-ups awaits repair, while brand new patent leather Jimmy Choos are getting some rubber reinforcements on the bottom to prevent slipping and wear-and-tear.

While handling shoes worth hundreds and thousands of dollars, Azinian is utterly clueless about the famous people to whom they belong.

"Recently, I had to go to the house of an actress," Azinian said.

"It was Jennifer Aniston," chimed in grandson Ari Libaridian.

"She gave me shoes to repair, but she also wanted to talk to me," said Azinian.   Continued...

Owner Arturo Azinian poses for a portrait in his shoe repair shop in Beverly Hills, California April 24, 2015.  REUTERS/Mario Anzouni