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Town Centre Timpsons In UK Top Twenty

Published on: 14 Nov, 2019
Updated on: 16 Nov, 2019

By Hugh Coakley

It is a tiny shop, probably not much more than eight or nine-feet across, but the manager, Kevin ‘The Godfather’ Rossiter, says the Guildford town centre branch is one of the top 20 busiest Timpsons shops in the country.

With more than 2,000 Timpson branches around the UK, that is quite an accolade.

Shoe repairer Timpsons in North Street, just off Swan Lane.

Kevin, who has been in the shoe repair trade for over 35 years, likes to have a chat with his customers. While I was talking to him, several people called a greeting into the open shop doorway on North Street or passed the time of day with him, generally with a laugh.

Kevin ‘The Godfather’ Rossiter, manager of the Guildford town centre Timpson branch, likes “to see a smile on the customers’ faces.”

Serving a customer in the tiny Timpsons shop in North Street, Guildford.

He is called ‘The Godfather’ – everyone working for Timpsons is given a nickname by their colleagues – because he does the difficult jobs.

He said: “I get sent jobs that other branches can’t do. I never turn things away but, if I say I can’t do it, it can’t be done.

“You never know what will come into the shop and I like a challenge.”

From shoe repairs, key cutting, engraving, watch repairs and dry cleaning, it is a useful little shop to have in the town centre.

Kevin on the engraving machine in the tiny work area at the rear of the shop. He was correcting an error from another shop on a silver christening tankard.

Most of the work is done on the ground floor, either just behind the counter at the front of the shop or in the tiny workshop at the rear.

Kevin reminisced about the times when the repair work would have been done upstairs by the cobblers, all male, while female staff would serve at the counter. Now he works in the shop on his own but occasionally he has new starters to Timpsons who are learning the ropes helping him.

The upstairs area is accessed by a circular, metal stairway because of the limited space. The old shoe repair machines now lie silent.

“But shoe repairing is still basically the same so we still use them if we have a problem with the latest kit.” said Kevin.

The upstairs room was the old workshop and stores the old machines. Most of the work is carried out downstairs now.

He does on average about 15 to 20 shoe repairs a day and up to 40 when he is really busy.

“My wife says that I am the sort of person that has to be the best at what he does. I work seven days a week but I am a bit of a workaholic and I feel a responsibility for the success of the Guildford branch.

“It’s what I am good at and I enjoy the result. I like to see a smile on the customers’ faces.”

Access upstairs is by a tight circular staircase which is ideal in the tiny store.

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