Longtime Fresno shoe cobbler retiring after 42 years in business

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Nishan Der Kalousdian has lived the American Dream, and now he's ready to settle into his golden years.

The longtime Fresno shoe cobbler is retiring after 42 years in business.

"I'm quitting, I'm retiring," he said. "I'm now 72, so I"m happy."

Born to Armenian parents in Lebanon, Nishan fled the war tore region in the mid-'70s for America.

He eventually settled in Fresno and opened Northgate Shoe Repair after working as a high school math teacher in his native land.

Nishan put his soul into the sole business but says he's ready to let it go.

"I thank God for it," he said. "Forty-two years, I have three kids that graduated from Fresno State."

Longtime customer Eugene Cantu is sad to see Nishan go but wishes him a happy retirement.

"I actually told him thank you," Cantu said. "You might be fixing somebody else's shoe but to me, it's life-changing. I actually have double scoliosis, so the lifts he puts on my shoe give me the ability to go to work. If it wasn't for him, I couldn't go to work."

It truly is an end of an era.

Nishan's shoe repair shop has remained in the same north Fresno shopping center since opening in 1980 but as the 72-year-old says, he still has plenty to offer.

"It's not over, my life begins another phase," he said.

Nishan is an avid painter and looks forward to creating more works of art while joining his wife, who retired herself from nursing a few years ago.

Friday, he said goodbye to his loyal customers and closed up shop one final time.

Nishan credits his wife for helping him stay in business for so long and thanks his landlords all these years.

He also says he is giving away all the unclaimed shoes to charity.
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