Business Profile: Miah Lager

Posted: Tuesday, October 02, 2001

Title and firm: Miah Lager, who recently became the cobbler and manager of Family Shoe Repair in downtown Juneau.

Services: Lager said the primary job of the business is to repair shoes. However, with more than 28 years in the business, the Lager family has created its own handmade shoes, bags, purses and wallets.

"I guess we're basically a fix-it shop," she said. "But we also can do handmade shoes, handmade anything."

Lager said while she has been in the store and around the business of making shoes for most of her 23 years, she just finished her first pair of handmade shoes.

She said the store specializes in the "fisherman's" shoe with a flat rubberized sole and laces. She said to custom-fit the shoe, she traces a person's foot to get the size and gets the customer's specifications. She then molds and stretches the leather to fit the shape. When this is done she affixes the sole to the leather.

She said the store carries a wide variety of soles, including various hiking treads. Most custom-made shoes take a day and half to complete while repairs may take two to three days depending the number of orders coming in, Lager said.

Quotable: "My father and I are artists," Lager said. "(Making shoes) is so sculptural. There's a lot of finesse to this work and I never really realized it before. You have to shape them and stretch them and make them comfortable and do more stretches. It's all about the stretching."

Background: Lager was attending art school in Baltimore, Md., until she agreed to take over the shop from her father, store owner John Lager. He will be living in the Lower 48 for the next two years while his daughter runs the shop.

Miah Lager said when her father returns, she will return to art school. In the meantime, she plans to turn the front area of the store into a mini-art gallery displaying her work as well as that of other local artists.

Family: Miah Lager's father John founded the business 28 years ago. She has a fianc David Eckerson who also is an artist. They have been together for eight years.

Contact information: For more information contact Miah Lager at 586-8999.

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