Lorena Agolli, owner of Sole Survivor in Toronto
It’s been a bumpy road for small business owners these past few months but Lorena Agolli, owner of shoe repair shop Sole Survivor, is finally seeing the light. Aside from adapting her business to survive the crisis, Agolli started using her free time to refocus her passion for what she does, something that has normally taken a back seat.
“I hope that people reconnect or even learn what it is that they truly need. What it is that they love to do. For so long I feel that everyone, including myself, has just been moving and maintaining their lives. We should all take the space and time to live our lives to the purest and fullest forms.” – Lorena Agolli, owner of Sole Survivor.
When it comes to shoe repairs, not only can Lorena Agolli talk the talk, she’s mastered the walk. Having been trained by Toronto’s cobbler king and original owner of Sole Survivor, she developed a business foundation built on rock-solid repairs and custom jobs. When her boss retired in 2013, Agolli decided to take over the company and help revive a ‘dying’ trade. Her goal was to preserve the old traditions while giving them a modern update. And for the past 8 years, she’s been offering expertise to customers until the government announced a mandatory shutdown. It stopped this industry leader in her tracks.
She says, “Once things settled down (more so the shock of it all) we focused our attention back to our customers; communication was key! We used the extra time we had to update our website as well as have a better online presence via social media.” Their services didn’t need to change, but the means of providing them had to. Sole Survivor relied heavily on foot traffic, and now they needed customers to book services online and use curbside pick-ups or drop-offs.
Agolli managed to get her business back on its feet, but the experience taught her to slow down and better listen to her body and mind. If something feels like too much of a struggle, she doesn’t do it anymore. Because when you do things out of love instead of fear, it will feel rewarding instead of challenging.
Now Agolli is moving forward by only focusing on the positives. “We will continue to ‘heel your soles’ in the future. Perhaps it will look and feel a bit different at first but as long we are all on the same page on how to move forward, it will be an easy transition into the new way of doing business.”
To support Lorena Agolli, Torontonians can visit the Sole Survivor website to book an appointment.
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