Shoemaking is a longtime family business for Gary. As a third-generation shoemaker, his experience and quality of work is rivaled by few in the province.
Before opening Markham Village Boots & Shoes, Gary owned a repair shop for 11 years. His services expanded when Gary desperately needed a belt to wear to his brother’s wedding. After buying several poor quality products, he decided to make his own. With a positive response from friends and others, Gary started taking orders for his custom-made belts.
As demand grew, Gary expanded his business to its location on Main St. Markham. His product base grew from belts and shoe repair to custom leather shoes and handbags. Then, in 2003, Gary and his daughter Sonia moved their business to an original 1860s shoe store. They even host tours of their shop to customers and locals during Main St. events and festivals.
“We moved here and fixed it up, but we made sure to preserve the original aesthetic,” says Sonia. “From the original floors and walls, the place looks like you went back in time. It’s a very interesting building.”