Struggling shoe repair store closes after 35 years due to COVID-19

"Try and support your local small businesses. Get out. That's the backbone of the economy in the US. If you can, support them and keep them going, its better for everyone."

CRANSTON, R.I. (WLNE) – The local community has stepped up to help a small business owner who lost his home and business during the pandemic.

Owner of Lincoln Shoe Repair, Bruce Lawson, said he will have to close his doors after running his business for nearly 35 years.

Lawson said customers at the shoe repair shop have dwindled over the past ten years, but when the pandemic came along, his sales took a serious hit.

“Then Coronavirus hit and it just knocked everything out,” Lawson told ABC6 News on Wednesday. “People don’t need to fix their shoes if they’re not going out. It’s a sign of the times.”

As if losing his business wasn’t enough, Lawson lost his home back in 2019.  Mounting bills and a back injury forced him to move into his shop.

Despite losing his home and his business, Lawson said he tries to stay optimistic.

“I’ve always been a person you do what you can do. Whatever your circumstance is, you keep moving forward.”

Lawson told ABC6 that the one thing he will miss most, are his customers.

Those same customers, created a GoFundMe page to try to help Lawson get back on his feet.

An emotional Lawson said a few people have even come to his shop to drop off money.

Lawson said if there is one message others take away from his situation, he hopes it’s this: “Try and support your local small businesses. Get out. That’s the backbone of the economy in the US. If you can, support them and keep them going, its better for everyone.”

Bruce Lawson will officially close Lincoln Shoe Repair on Saturday, but said he has already accepted a new job as a machine operator and is looking forward to the next chapter in his life.

Categories: Coronavirus, Cranston, News, Regional News, Rhode Island