SURVIVING through two recessions and a fire that had left the shop completely destroyed, the original owner is finally passing on his Lancing shop to ‘young blood’.
In 1984, Alan Head opened the key and shoe repair shop, Footsteps, in North Road, after working in the trade since the age of 13.
“When I was a young boy, there were at least four shoe repair shops in Lancing, but now there is just the one,” said the 68-year-old.
“I’ve been in Lancing a long time and everyone knows me as the shoe repair man. It’s been absolutely lovely.”
Not only had Mr Head opened the shop during a recession, but in 1990 the shop hit the news after a piece of equipment caught fire and destroyed the entire shop overnight.
“The shop was completely gutted,” said Mr Head.
“I had to rebuild my business from scratch and it all happened because one of the machines had caught alight.”
Mr Head said that he was very close to closing the shop permanently, but due to an ongoing contract with shoe shop Jones Bootmaker, he was able to continue to work until he was up on his feet again.
“It took three months in the end to get it all back in place,” said Mr Head.
Footsteps deals in key cutting, trophies, shoe repairs, handbags and trollies for the village, but Mr Head said he did not want the business to end just because he had decided to retire.
“It’s going to be sold on as a going concern to Nathan Bradey.”
The shop, which Mr Head said has received a lot of support from the community over the years, will now continue as normal.
“This shop has stuck by me throughout the years and the customers have shown me a lot of support.
“It’s a service that has always been needed in the village and is still needed to this day,” he added.
Mr Head said Footsteps was still going strong and that he simply made the decision to step down so he can enjoy a long retirement.
“It’s just because I’m getting old.
“Lancing was a great place for me to start up a business and I still think it is a great place to do so. I would have been sad if it had to close. It’s still the only one left in the area.”
Footsteps can be found at 24 Queens Parade and is open for business as usual.