Still working its magic with leather and shoe repair in Point Loma

COVID has been tough on Hugo Arellano, who operates a shoe and leather repair shop in Point Loma Plaza. Hugo says he couldn’t have survived the pandemic without the help of his friends. He just hadn’t realized he had that many.

“I survived because my neighbors and friends were good to me,” said Arellano, from Guanajuato, Mexico. “I say thank you to the neighborhood because they have been so supportive of me.”

Arellano has operated Leather Magic Fine Shoe & Repair at 3639-D Midway Drive for 21 years. He pointed out that the pandemic has proven to be a real challenge and forced him to change his business model.

“We were three people, but after COVID, now I work alone,” he said of how he managed to manage. “[Customers] gave me a chance to survive because I know how to do everything.

Arellano said his supporters have been more than generous. “I once had a client, she gave me $2,500,” he said. “Another time, I had a client that I did a $60 job for and he yelled and said, ‘That’s not a $60 job, it’s a $600 job. ‘ People have been good to us. »

Hugo Arellano in the inner sanctum of his Midway Plaza shoe and leather repair shop. DAVE SCHWAB/BEACON PENINSULA

Leather Magic takes care of shoe repair, from the cheapest to the most expensive. The boutique also works on handbags and orthopedic shoes, even doing some luggage repairs. Working in his backroom, Arellano resole and refinish shoes, as well as custom dye and repair handbags.

Leather Magic’s front room offers all the accessories one would need for shoes, including shoelaces, shoe polishes and brushes. Arellano said about 70% of his work is in women’s shoes. He also works for first responders, working on boots for local firefighters.

Picking up an extremely worn firefighter’s boot from his workshop, Arellano noted, “This boot costs $500. I can fix it for $100.

Arellano moved from Mexico to the United States in 1980 to raise his standard of living and have a chance at a better life. He learned his trade as a leatherworker in Clairemont Mesa. He worked for Nordstrom Corporation for 25 years in their shoe department before taking over the leather repair business in Point Loma.

Arellano has repaired shoes for some famous athletes. He worked on shoes for Chargers football players when they were here. He also worked for the famous Mexican boxer Julio Cesar Chavez and the great Brazilian footballer Pelé. He has signed and framed photos of the two sports stars that hang on his walls.

Hugo Arellano in his shoe and leather repair shop with his dogs Chino (Akita), Pepe (Saint Bernard) and Buki (chihuahua), a rescue from Ensenada. DAVE SCHWAB/BEACON PENINSULA

The leatherworker has three dogs, a Japanese Akita named Chino, a Saint Bernard named Pepe and a Chihuahua named Buki, who work with him in his shop. “I work too many hours,” he said. “I have no chance of having friends. They have become my friends.

Arellano does not give preferential treatment to any of its customers, treating them all the same.

“Anyone who brings food to my table – that’s good,” he concluded. “I tell them, ‘You’re my boss today. “”

SHOE AND MAGIC LEATHER REPAIR

Where: 3639-D Midway Drive

Contact: 619-223-2777.

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