Italian immigrant Montefusco puts 'sole' into decades-old, shoe-repair business

Nov 30, 2018 585

A cold Corona sits atop an antique Singer sewing machine, as John Montefusco unwinds after a long day repairing shoes. The 100-year-old machine is a reminder of a circuitous journey that started with him working on a farm and making wine as a young man in Naples, Italy. There, he also repaired shoes on the side. Montefusco's travels stretched to New York City — "Nuova York" he says through a thick Italian accent — Massachusetts and Connecticut.

He has been repairing shoes for close to 60 years, 51 of those as owner of John's Shoe Repair in Bloomfield. Short, affable and plain spoken, Montefusco, 78, is a widower with an insatiable work ethic, quick wit and simple tastes. He loves to cook, enjoys good wine, working the garden at his Windsor home and playing bocce with his paisans in Springfield, Mass. He believes repairing shoes is his gift and life purpose.

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