The Shoe Whisperer: Yvonne Martinez

Yvonne Martinez.

We Will Heel You! We Will Save Your Sole! We Will Even Dye For You!!!  These are the famous words of “Chito” Martinez, the Master Cobbler of Chula Vista and father of this edition’s featured lady Yvonne Martinez who followed in her dad’s footsteps, (pun intended), as a Master Cobbler herself. To say that she has a favorite pair of shoes would do her a huge injustice, she is by far a true shoe lover! To her shoes make the outfit, and everyone has a different style that speaks to their personality. As her dad was getting older she knew he needed help with the two shops they had and she moved back to San Diego from the East Coast with the intention of buying her brother’s shoe shop. That did not happen, instead, she helped at her dad’s shop and mastered the techniques and the business, always giving exceptional service. She can revive any shoe, from combat boots to Prada stilettos. She really is the shoe whisperer. Her biggest challenge was that she had to take over her dad’s business in an abruptly rather than celebratory manner because he passed away, so she had to mourn her dad and face legal challenges while making the business stay alive just to make ends meet. Because her dad did not own the building, financing the operation is increasingly difficult at a time when overhead really hurts small business owners. She has faced harassment from her neighbor businesses for being gay, and still, every day she goes to work with great courage and positivity- she loves her clientele and the work that she does. And that shows in the results, the work she does is truly that of the lost art of craftsmanship. She’s optimistic about the future, even against our current economy for small businesses. She continues to educate the public on how important it is to repair your shoes and leather goods. It is an investment as well as a social responsibility to save Mother Earth and not add waste to our landfills. Her message to Latina business owners is to “NEVER GIVE UP! Even when things look bleak, dig deep and get as creative as you can. Stick to good work ethics and fair prices. Recycle! Reuse! Repair! Restore!” I couldn’t agree more!  So visit her shop The Boot Round-Up, 246 Broadway in Chula Vista, she will take care of your babies like no other. We celebrate Yvonne for her strength and courage to keep going against adversity, with the passion that ignites all Latinas: Shoes!