Nicholas Argyropoulos was a child when Germany invaded Greece during World War II, and tragedy struck his family when his father was killed by the communists during the ensuing civil war.
By the age of 16, Argyropoulos enlisted in the Greek army and fought the communists for two years until he was sent to the United States, where he married, raised a family and continues to work in his shoe repair store, Nick Caesar’s Shoe Repair in Philadelphia.
“Everybody likes me. American people — they love me. They like me because I fix the shoes good and I never have an argument with nobody,” Argyropoulos says. “They’re nice people, to me. Americans are like my brothers.”
The shoemaker-turned-repairman originally learned the trade as a 10-year-old boy in Thessaloniki, where he was taught by a 6-foot-8 man named Gerasimos from the island of Crete.
After receiving help from Armenians and fellow shoemakers from Italy, Argyropoulos was able to get his business off the ground in Thessaloniki before he eventually enlisted in the Greek army and took a hiatus from the profession.
And in the 1950s, once he had settled in his new home country across the Atlantic, he returned to his original craft.
“I like to work. I repair any kind [of shoe] and they say I make the shoes like new,” he says. “Sometimes I’m late because I’m busy and they get a little mad because they need the shoes and I didn’t fix the shoes.”
But that doesn’t stop his customers from coming.
“Still they come and see me again — they don’t go anywhere,” he says. “I’m never going to stop… As long as I can fix the shoes to the public, I’ll stay here.”
This story was shared with The Pappas Post by our partners at Cosmos Philly. Visit their website.
Will you Support The Pappas Post for as little as the cost of a cup of coffee per month?
Is The Pappas Post worth $5 a month for all of the content you read? On any given month, we publish dozens of articles that educate, inform, entertain, inspire and enrich thousands who read The Pappas Post. I’m asking those who frequent the site to chip in and help keep the quality of our content high — and free. Click here and start your monthly or annual support today. If you choose to pay (a) $5/month or more or (b) $50/year or more then you will be able to browse our site completely ad-free!