A “Pittsburgh institution” prepares to shutter after 48 years

Nov 22, 2022 167

BY: Jamie Wiggan

Gabriel Fontana has been hammering, stitching, and buffing shoes for nearly 75 years. He was 35 and a recent Italian emigrant when he took over his brother-in-law’s Forbes Avenue shoe repair store in the 1970s. Back then, times were good for the trade he’d honed since boyhood.

“It was a very busy time, and I was packed,” Fontana recalls. “At lunch time, people walked on the streets.” Fontana was not the only cobbler flourishing under the pre-internet retail environment in which he got his start in Pittsburgh. He remembers at least nine others plying their trade Downtown in those early days.

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SOURCE: https://www.pghcitypaper.com

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