Adelaide West - South Australia

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Shoe Artisan Rocco Spano

May 2017

Tucked away behind a wall of shoes and handbags within A Class Shoe Repairs you will find Rocco working away at one of Grote Street's icons as he has done for more than two decades.

Smell the leather and hear the Italian laughter between husband and wife team Rocco and Rose as they give their customers A-Class service 6 days a week.

Rocco is one of Grote Street's unique artisans serving his clientele always with a smile and the aim to please.  

Rocco grew up in Adelaide and started fixing shoes in West Lakes almost 30 years ago. He learnt his craft from an old Italian cobbler who owned the shop where he worked. Rocco explains, "To repair shoes you have to know how to make shoes". He studied for 2 years under the guidance of Tim Skyrome, author of 'How to Make Shoes'.  

Rocco found the shop at 34 Grote Street (near Victoria Square) when it was owned by a Greek shoe repairer who had it for about 39 years. Rocco and Rose know their regular customers by name and have made great friends over the years.

It is a family business as 20 year old Ilario took up an apprenticeship with his dad to make sure the family trade continues. Rose loves to tell the story of baby Ilario sleeping under the workbench lined with sheep's wool while she worked in the front shop. "It was like a cubby house. As he grew he'd hammer non-stop and sell his little hammered bottle-top creations to customers."

Rocco is a real craftsman making his own unique solid leather belts for schools and work places. He has made special leather pouches and handbags for customers over the years. He once was asked to make a sail for a yacht but prefers to custom make smaller items.