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Arlington leather repair shop Best Foot Forward moving to Bradlee Shopping Center

Leatherworking at Best Foot Forward (image via Best Foot Forward/Facebook)

After twenty years in Pentagon Row, family-owned leatherworking shop Best Foot Forward is moving to the Bradlee Shopping Center in Alexandria early next month.

Victoria Lopez, operations manager at Best Foot Forward and daughter of the shop’s founder Wilfred Lopez, said they are planning on moving to the new Bradlee location sometime in early July.

“We’ve been at Pentagon Row for about twenty years now, ever since the shopping center opened,” Victoria said. “My dad started it as a one-man business. Now we’re looking to expand and Bradlee would be twice as big. That will give us more of a chance to find more services and present more retail stuff.”

Shoe repair businesses have been hit hard by the pandemic, but Victoria said Best Foot Forward has held out by pivoting to more generalized leather repair.

“Through COVID saw about 70% of all shoe repair shops die down,” Victoria said. “We had people come in and bring office shoes, but now they’re bringing different types of jobs.”

What was once mainly office shoes has grown to include more repairs to things like repairing sneakers or leather bags. The change wasn’t without precedent at the story, and Victoria said over the last twenty years the shop has worked on a wide array of unusual items.

“Throughout twenty years we’ve restored a lot of weird stuff,” Victoria said. “We had an elephant shoe for the National Zoo. We’ve done a knight’s helmet — the leather part inside.”

Victoria said Best Foot Forward will be moving in near the Fresh Market.

Image via Best Foot Forward/Facebook

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