The Face behind the Front Door: Java Schoenservice

This time I paid a visit to Ron Lauwers, the owner of “Java Schoenservice”. After the renovation he gave the shop a homelike atmosphere, with a nice place to sit down in and a coffee machine. “I like my clients to feel at home”, he told me.

Ron Lauwers is not a stranger to our neighbourhood. From 1985 till 1990 he worked in Aad Peters’ shoe repair shop. Peters’ father established himself as a shoemaker on Javastraat in 1952. In 1963 his son took over and around 1995 he moved to the building on the corner of Mallemolen. Four years ago Ron took the shop over from Peters. His son runs the shop on Fahrenheitstraat.

“I have been a shoemaker for over 30 years”, Ron told me. “My first shop was in Zoetermeer. I love shoes, shoes are my passion. I love to make shoes beautiful and I work in the old way, according to the traditional methods. We have a number of machines that can repair even the most beautiful design shoes and make them look as good as new. Soles are stitched in the oldfashioned way.” I asked Ron what exactly is the difference between a ‘real’ shoemaker and a heel bar and he answered that a traditional shoemaker puts more effort in his work because his passion is to make the shoes look beautiful again. In a heel bar everything has to be done quickly: “They are the ‘quick-fit’ and we are the ‘garage’.” I was curious to know how many pairs of shoes he keeps in his own closet. “At least 17 or 18 pairs, not counting the slippers!”

Ron told me that he gets a lot of expensive shoes to repair. For them he uses special thin soles. Besides the usual repair of (mostly leather) soles and heels you can go to Ron to have the legs of your boots made wider or smaller, or for a completely new bottom part on your mountain boots.

Ron says that young people do not go to the shoemaker that often. Two or three times a year there is a sale and they rather buy a pair of new shoes at a discount than have their old shoes repaired. “Nikes meant a blow to us”, says Ron, “but now they too are brought in for repair.”

On the website I read that stretchers for boots and shoes are important for their upkeep. Few people take the trouble to use them. Placing the stretcher in a ‘warm’ shoe will prevent bending while it dries. The best stretchers are made of ceder wood, which absorbs the moisture from the shoes. Boot stretchers preserve the shape of the leg and prevent the breaking of the zipper at the bending point. Hint for the ladies?

Ron loves his work. “Each day is different. I have a wonderful job, a wonderful shop and wonderful clients. What more could I ask for?”

Do your shoes need new soles or do your new shoes need a little stretching? Then go to “Java Schoenservice”, Javastraat 57.
In the shop you can buy shoe polish, shoe laces, belts, umbrellas, cleaning materials and polish for leather furniture.

21 September 2015,  Josephine de Vijlder  (MM)