Local shoe repairman honored internationally for work with Irish dance group

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -- A local shoe repairman is being internationally recognized for the services he provides to a Colorado Springs Celtic dance group.

As many of us know, shoe repair is a dying business - a lost trade that many people have little to no interest in learning nowadays.

However -- Wesley Simmons is the exception and his work doesn't go unnoticed.

Tucked away in the Old North End is a man named Wesley Simmons. He's been the owner of Bon Shoe Repair for nearly 40 years and is a one-man shop.

"Well I learned this really young," said Simmons. "I was shining shoes in a shop downtown and just got to work in the back putting on heel plates and then heels."

Simmons was recently recognized in Irish Dance Magazine -- a worldwide publication that hailed him the "Superman of Shoes."

"He says he's always got to keep us girls dancing and without him we probably wouldn't be here right now," said Kennedy McDonald, a dancer with Celtic Steps.

On top of the dozens of boots, heels and sandals, Simmons repairs the hard shoes of local Celtic dancers.

"Sometimes they'll order a new pair and the hard toe, the angle ain't quite right and they'll bring them in, want me to shave it down and get it perfect for the girls," said Simmons.

"Sometimes like the tips fall off or the straps fall off and so he just helps us with that and he's always helped us and without him we'd probably have some pretty messed up shoes," said McDonald.

Simmons does it all at no cost.

"I learned how hard them kids are really working at this dance," said Simmons. "That's when I really started thinking, you know what, I'm going to do everything I can to keep those shoes going for them so they can keep dancing."

He doesn't do it for the attention or the desserts and goodies he receives as a token of appreciation. This superhero of shoes simply does it because he cares.

"He just always does what you need him to do and he doesn't complain," said McDonald."He just does it out of love."

Despite the industry becoming obsolete, Simmons says he'll continue his work because of his customers.


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