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Newtown’s ‘Original’ Shoemaker Retiring November 10 –

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“Anthony’s Shoe Service will probably be closing November 10,” said a notice posted on Anthony Paravalos’s counter.

Addressing all of his “valued customers” Mr Antonios “Anthony” Paravalos’s discover also said, “If you’ve any gadgets that have to be picked up, please accomplish that earlier than the 10 of November. I’ll nonetheless be doing restore work until the ten of November.”

The word continues, “I need to thank all of my prospects and Newtown for your patronage via the years. Thank you from the underside of my coronary heart. Anthony.”

Mr Paravalos has been in business in Newtown since 1992 at forty three South Essential Road, and was featured within the Newtown Bee that October, and again several years later within the Snapshot characteristic in the Bee, which highlights local individuals.

In keeping with previous Newtown Bee articles, as a younger man Mr Paravalos studied on the Moderno School of Design in Athens. He made sneakers for the Petrides firm there, and from 1960 to 1971 he had his own store on the island of Andros. He moved to Danbury in 1971.

Mr Paravalos realized English by taking night classes at Danbury High school, and for 12 years labored in manufacturing, and was later a supervisor at the Windmill Diner. As his youngsters grew older, he decided to return to the shoe enterprise. He purchased a retiring shoe repairman’s gear and first had his shop in Danbury, however soon moved to Newtown.

“I grew up in this job. I am the unique shoemaker,” he had mentioned to The Bee in 1992.
Pulling out a drawer, he discovered the Snapshot column from The Newtown Bee in 1996. Pointing to his solutions to some questions there, the article asked about his favorite place: “Every place in city is my favorite. I feel like I’m free. I love Newtown. Anyplace I am going, I like it.”

His philosophy “I like to see people, not grouchy, but joyful. Life is short. It’s good to be laughing.”

Many years, Many people
Wanting at the shoemaking and restore instruments and equipment squeezed right into a small leather- and polish-scented area, Mr Paravalos mentioned, “I’ve had loads of years in this place.”

Boots in hand, Brandi Shelton approached the counter. Placing her “favorite” tall leather-based boots on the counter, she pointed to worn areas. “I simply love these boots,” she said. “I need them to final perpetually.”

Previously, Ms Shelton had a purse stolen, and later found in a swamp. “He fastened it, like new,” she mentioned.

Debby Pollack has been bringing gadgets to Mr Paravalos for repair for more than 20 years.
“He’s seen my kids grow up, he’s a lovely particular person, and a real Newtown icon. I truly began crying when he informed me he’s retiring in November,” she mentioned.

“He does footwear heels, soles,” and also repairs horse blankets and bridles. “I don’t know who else I’m going to get to do this,” she said. Her daughters have been “in and out of that retailer for 21 years mainly, and my younger daughter needed to see him one final time when she realized he was retiring.” She has a pair of sneakers there, “and when i decide them up it can in all probability be the last time I see him.”

Ms Pollack mentioned, “He admonishes me when sneakers are so worn by means of.” She brought in one pair of boots “many, many instances, and he lastly would inform me — ‘it’s time to place them to relaxation.’

“He is a pillar of the group. He has fixed purses for me more than once,” she stated.
Dr Diane Wenick has used his providers for years, as well. “I love that man,” she mentioned.

She additionally has been going to Mr Paravalos for greater than 20 years.
“He is such a sweetheart and he at all times has something upbeat to say — and the outdated tools, it’s enthralling, and he talks about Greece.” When she visits, “He shows me that he fixes footwear which are very expensive; and he does a great job.”

Dr Wenick mentioned, “He does a pleasant job and does it the old school manner. Everytime you go in you have got to speak somewhat bit and look at photos of him … he will probably be missed.”

The Thoughts And Hands
Lifting a tawny piece of leather wrapped round a wooden shoe horn, Mr Paravalos indicated a pair of men’s footwear that he was making. Behind him had been shelves full of shoes by Prada, Manolo Blahnik, Ferragamo, and Louboutin — expensive women’s heels, handbags, men’s sneakers, and extra.

“People come from Greenwich, Westport, Darien,” all hoping he can repair their shoes, he mentioned.
Each repairing and handcrafting his personal shoe designs, he said, “I’m initially a shoemaker. I started as a young boy.” As a baby in Greece, Mr Paravalos was playing one summer when his father had said, “You know, faculty is over. Start to work.” He had instructed his father, “I don’t want cash, I need to be taught something.” He had gone to a shoemaker who was designing, reducing, stretching materials to make shoes.

“I beloved to see the design. And so, that is my life.” Each summer he would go and watch the shoemaker, he mentioned. “I was 10 years outdated when i began to be a shoemaker.”

Lifting an outdated, framed black and white photograph, he smiled at the picture of a number of males and one youthful boy —Mr Paravalos — in a shoemaking shop. “Everything was carried out by hand; no machines 60 years in the past.”

He designs his shoes on paper, creates cutouts that quickly translate to a shaped piece of leather wrapped around the shoe helps, and prepared for soles, heels, and stitching. He said, “Boots, shoes, any form, make me blissful.” He has made a wide range of footwear, from sandals to butcher’s shoes.

Standing on a shelf was a e book filled with vibrant illustrations of sneakers, a new pair on each web page. They had been his designs. Slowly turning the pages and looking out through the pictures, he slapped the guide closed and set it down.

He will miss designing and making sneakers, he stated.
Tapping his head, he mentioned, “A maker may very well be 100 years old and still in the mind is thought to create, all the time.”

He stated, “Tailors and shoemakers are the perfect — you employ thoughts and arms to create.” His mind never stops imagining find out how to do it. “Computers destroy the thoughts for designers,” he stated. “Years back, sneakers have been done with the mind and palms,” Mr Paravalos repeated.

Stepping again behind the counter, glancing at the various sneakers awaiting pick up, he mentioned, individuals have asked him why he is retiring. “It’s time, it’s time,” he answered.

Reaching for more photos, he has a collection of earlier than and after images of shoes or boots torn up by household pets. Heels have been eaten, or the back of a boot was torn out. “But, I gave them back like new.”

Alongside one wall where photos and previous news articles hung was one other shelf holding polishes, laces, spot remover, water proofing creams, and extra. “A lot of people, lots of memories,” he mentioned.

When Mr Paravalos got here to the United States, he lived in Danbury, where he finally purchased the supplies from a retiring cobbler. Equally, Zelda Grimm of Vermont is buying Mr Paravalos’s gear and taking it back to Vermont.

What’s going to he do throughout retirement
“Oh, I have loads of hobbies. I’ll do something,” he white man with ferragamo belt said. Saying he can have a lot to do, he will not keep house if the day is beautiful. Nonetheless, rainy days may keep him home, he guessed.

He loves his work and loves the people. “I want the perfect to all people.”
Mr Paravalos’s daughter, Helen Paravalos-Valazquez mentioned, “He’s has been working so hard all his life and he has had his shoe repair for over 25 years and has all the time taken satisfaction in his work.” She said,

“He all the time does an superior job on all of his repairs and everything that leaves his retailer.
“He loves Newtown and the people there which have supported him all these years,” Ms Paravalos-Valazquez continued.