Saving Soles: Local cobbler donating 10 percent of sales toward cancer research

By Tony Wittkowski | Business Reporter | The Herald-Palladium

ST. JOSEPH — The month of October has Cassandra Lopez seeing pink.

And readers may see a lot more of it, too – on the bottom of people’s shoes.Lopez, owner of Gagliardo Shoe Repair at 810 Highland Ave. in St. Joseph, plans on getting her customers to not only save their soles, but help save lives in the process.

“We will donate 10 percent of the proceeds from all of the pink heels and soles we put on in October to breast cancer research,” Lopez said. “Our customers can make a statement by wearing their pink soles and heels and, together, we can support the research to find a cure.”

The pink soles come as part of Repair with Pink – an initiative launched by Shoe Repair International.

For the Repair with Pink program, Gagliardo Shoe Repair has pink heels and protective soles available for both women’s and men’s shoes.

“One in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer during their lifetime,” Lopez said. “By repairing with pink, both women and men can show solidarity and support the grandmothers, mothers, sisters, daughters, wives and friends who have fought and continue to fight breast cancer.”

With this being the inaugural year for the breast cancer-fighting program, Lopez said she jumped at the chance to help.

Lopez’s business partner, Lisa Hubbs, said they have already had one customer order pink heel caps. The offered pink protective oversole is permanent, giving the shoe more grip on either men’s or women’s shoes. The material is the same, just a different color.

Hubbs said they have received a lot of attention after putting up signs for the pink soles last week.

“We had a woman who came in earlier this week that said she was literally going to go and buy a pair of shoes to be able to put (pink soles) on,” Hubbs said.

With more than 50 shops in the country participating in the Repair with Pink program, Lopez said they are one of three Michigan shops taking part. The other two are in the Detroit region. The effort has even stretched beyond this country’s borders, appearing in shoe repair shops in the Netherlands and Sweden.

Lopez said if enough people wear these pink soles, it may start a much-needed conversation.

“Hopefully more will come do this,” she said. “It’s a way to increase breast cancer awareness because it’s a constant problem. This is a nice way to remind people.”

For more information about Repair with Pink, visit www.repairwithpink.com.

Contact Tony Wittkowski at twittkowski@TheHP.com or (269) 932-0358. Follow him on Twitter: @tonywittkowski.

(Author’s Note: This article was originally published on Sept. 18, 2015)

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