Fergus Falls Welcomes Niche Businesses Like 4th Generation Shoe & Leather Repair


The Greater Fergus Falls team loves watching new businesses grow and thrive in our community. Over the years, we’ve had the pleasure of welcoming businesses of all sizes, types, and industries to the area, including pop-up shops like Peney Cakes to permanent establishments like Better Hands Massage Therapy.


We’ve seen more niche businesses open in the Fergus Falls region recently. These types of retailers, which provide products and services in a specialized industry, are a huge benefit to the community. They encourage residents to shop locally by offering goods and services they would otherwise have to travel to find. In turn, keeping dollars local ensures more money is reinvested in the community and supports future growth opportunities.


One of the newest niche businesses to open in Fergus Falls is 4th Generation Shoe & Leather Repair. Gerald Bermel opened the shop, which provides cobbling services, in early 2020. Keep reading to learn more about this specialized industry and what makes Fergus Falls an attractive option for niche businesses like 4th Generation Shoe & Leather Repair.



What is Cobbling?

Cobbling is a trade that dates back centuries to when shoes were made one at a time by hand. While it’s easy to confuse a cobbler with a shoemaker, the former’s expertise lies in repairing shoes rather than making them. Leading up to and throughout the 18th century, people typically wore the same pair of shoes for years. Excessive wear bolstered the need for shoe repair, which made cobbling an in-demand trade. In addition to shoes and leather goods, today’s cobblers are skilled at repairing items such as zippers, belts, luggage and purses, sporting equipment, boat and lift covers, and leather apparel.


It can take years to master the trade of cobbling. Experienced cobblers have undergone specialized training in shoemaking, which includes learning the natural characteristics of leather and mastering various repair techniques. Many also take part in apprenticeship programs lasting two to five years to learn the art of shoe and leather repair from skilled cobblers.