Franklin’s Sole Man

So, you finally bought that great vintage pair of red Tony Lama cowboy boots, but they need to be resoled and need new heels. Maybe your favorite pair of Christian Louboutin white snake skin tennis shoes are very dirty and need to be deep cleaned. What do you do?

Easy. Call the Shoe Man — better known as James Jackson, owner of J.A.W. Shoe Repair and Sewing, located conveniently off Highway 96 in the Williamson Square Shopping Centre.

Luckily, I was introduced to James several years ago, and I can attest to the fact that I’ve never known anyone better at shoe repair. Period.

As with any master craftsman, James has put in the time to become the expert that he clearly is. He’s been repairing, polishing, and fixing shoes in Middle Tennessee for more than 26 years. His first gig was at the CoolSprings Galleria, and after nine years of working for someone else, James, born in Liberia, decided to open his own shop, and he has never looked back.

His client list is distinguished, to say the least. Some of his most-challenging customers were the world-famous Radio City Rockettes. According to James, they were in Nashville performing and they needed a “great many shoe” repaired in a “very short time.” With a smile and grin, James calls that job “fun.” But he is quick to add his most-challenging customer wore a size 21 shoe — that’s not a typo. Size 21. James says the customer could only find a size 18, and James had to make it fit. According to James, he was able to accomplish that “mighty feat” (so to speak) after a lot of hard work. He was laughing out loud when he shared that story with me.

James’ shoe shop is truly a work shop. The aroma of leather, polish, and shoe oil waft in the air. James says he has his fair share of celebrity clients, and many of their photos hang on the wall. Since he’s located in Franklin, one might think his clients are local. That’s not always the case. You see, James has made a name for himself when it comes to shoe repair. He has customers that travel regularly from Alabama, Kentucky, East and West Tennessee to have James work his shoe magic.

James says that women are far better at taking care of their shoes than men, but he has advice for everybody.

“Every year, you go to your doctor for a check-up or to your dentist to have your teeth cleaned. Take care of your shoes in the same way, and they will last for years,” he says.

Preventative maintenance is the key.

Another shoe and boot care hint from James: at the end of each season, bring him your shoes to clean, condition and repair. James says it’s terrible for your winter shoes and boots to sit for months uncleaned due to grime salt and dirt, plus, by having them cleaned at the end of the season, they will be ready to wear!

James’ expertise is not limited to shoes and boots. He works on and repairs belts, purses, brief cases, and said, “Just this week, I have repaired two dog leashes.” And just so you know, when you visit James, you can also get your clothes altered. James’ wife, Wende, also works at the shop, and she’s an expert seamstress.

“Yes, she’s my wife. I’m not boasting, but she is very good at what she does,” James says.

So, there you have it. One stop shopping for all of your shoe and clothing repairs right here in Franklin. Stop in and say hello to the Jackson’s — you and your clothes and shoes will be glad that you did!

Love your questions, so keep them coming. Email me at johntom71@comcast.net. Until next time, if you can’t be brilliant, be BRIGHT!

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