I was eleven years old when I first started working with shoes. My father taught me everything I know. I remember sitting in our basement as he showed me how to hand stitch moccasins. He would stitch the first half of the shoe and then leave the other half for me to do. I always thought he did this on purpose because it’s much easier starting a shoe then finishing it. I guess he wanted me to learn the hard way.
I learned a lot of things the hard way from my father. That was the kind of person he was. When he had to be tough he was, but he was also fair – not only with me but with everyone. That’s what made him so great. When you made a mistake he would explain what you did wrong and give you the chance to try again.
My father’s greatest gift was that he was humble and showed the utmost respect for others. He was a simple man that immigrated to Canada just as so many of the people that he worked with in the shoe industry had, both at Mellow Walk and elsewhere. My father’s gift to me was teaching me to be respectful and humble.
I’m in this business because of him. My love for shoes stems from spending countless hours in the basement of our house stitching moccasins. It also stems from my earliest days at Mellow Walk skiving counters and cementing soles. My father guided me, even when he was sick and unable to come to work, always pushing me to look after the factory in his absence.
My father would be proud of me today. He would be proud to see that I have carried on in his absence.
This letter was not written for me alone. It was written to share with everyone who has been involved with Mellow Walk in some capacity, either present or past. It was written for a great man – a man who was brave enough to start a shoe manufacturing company in the early 1990s when everyone around us was closing.
My father would be happy to see Mellow Walk as it is today. He would be proud to see that it has become Canada’s leader in comfort safety footwear.