Many Central Oregonians know how to generate revenue from outdoor gear they are no longer utilizing; sell it at The Gear Fix (TGF). On the same token, TGF provides an affordable outlet for obtaining second-hand adventure products. This unique trading post style service has been available to Central Oregonians and out-of-townees for over eight years. Recently, TGF has transitioned from a heritage in consignment to unite both re-sale and repair.
Luke Doney, trained in the trade of cobbling, explains that TGF sells “all aspects of outdoor goods and over the years we saw how many things used and slightly broken could be fixed and made to work like new.”
This knowledge led the shop to begin tuning skis, then bike repairs and now clothing with a full sewing wing in a separate building behind the main retail space. Doney says they soon realized, “we could fix and repair all sorts of things and developed the idea of a shop that could fix anything it sold. Enter the shoe shop.”
The most exotic onsite repair facility is the cobbling studio where cobblers like Doney seamlessly resuscitating beloved footwear. Viewing the studio, tucked above the retail floor, shelves and shelves of neatly labeled shoes line the walls. Massive industrial machines with leavers, buttons, knobs, and switches, all smelling of rubber musk and adhesive, grind or remove damaged soles. Shoes dry on stands stretched or fitted to one of the hundreds of custom foot molds. When standing in the repair space, the whole process does seem magical, like the the elves from a fairytale will pop out any second.
Elves or not, Doney says, “The advent of cheaply made low cost footwear has all but made shoe repair obsolete.” Luckily, with costs much higher on weather proof performance oriented footwear, a niche market remains. “There are shops around that repair and maintain footwear, but not many that specialize in technical footwear repair and customization.”
Since starting in the industry two years ago Doney has, “customized hiking boots, made custom modifications to climbing shoes, rebuilt snowshoes, replaced thousands of soles, hundreds of velcro straps and customized ski boots.”
He encourages customers to assess their footwear for damages. The most common shoe repairs have included, “stitching broken seams, replacing soles, conditioning and waterproofing leather, replacing slick chaco soles for grippy rubber.”
Doney challenges, “dream something up and come see us! We will see if it can be done!”
If re-sale and repair aren’t enough, TGF is also planning community education and engineering opportunities. As part of TGF commitment to helping influence the manufacture of well made and repairable goods, customers can look forward to clinics and short videos based around repair and do it yourself gear. They also increasingly stalk their shelves with supplies for repairing, customizing, and even making gear. Stop by TGF today to see how an established community trading post is becoming a resource center for repair.
345 SW Century Dr, Bend, 541-617-0022