The Sandalman – Providing First Aid for Leather
No Job too Big for Local Leathercare Shop
by Liis Windischmann
Cory Bernatt is a doctor of sorts. In business for almost 40 years, and best known as ‘The Sandalman,’ he prides himself on providing first aid for leather. When I visited his busy Davenport shop,
The Sandalman Leathercare, TLC was being infused into various leather jackets, a beloved family heirloom, a vintage Yves Saint Laurent purse, and a classic set of Wassily chairs. A swatch of pale pink leather had just been sourced to perfectly colour match a customer’s tote in need of repair.
The shop boasts a stunning year-round collection of artisan-crafted sandals from Greece, Israel, Ireland and Kenya, as well as Canadian-designed leather pieces by Christopher Kon.
The company’s custom sandal creations have appeared in Mamma Mia!, Miss Saigon, and Aida on Broadway
But the core of the business involves the reconditioning treatments which bring the natural oils back into leather, with customers tracking down his service from around the world (including a recent happy customer from The Bahamas).
On my visit, a motorcycle jacket was being carefully treated with natural oils through one of the various stages of reconditioning, which takes two weeks to officially bring back its sheen and colour.
An elegant women’s jacket was being size-adjusted with new leather panels and other touch-ups. Other common issues that are corrected involve repairs to zippers, lining, buckles, and the straps of purses. Whatever is needed to bring life back to an item is done.
A long list of high-end stores, such as Harry Rosen, appreciate the quality of the work, and trust their customer’s leather alterations to Cory and his team.
Cory helps customers through requests, near and far, via email, and can provide quotes and suggestions from photos. The shop also carries leather care products, should customers wish to treat their items at home. He proudly shared photos with me of 400 and 600-year-old family heirloom leather chairs which were just restored to vibrancy.
To find out more about the amazing work Cory and his team are doing to bring leather back to life, and to see a video of the ‘doctor’ in action, please visit www.sandalman.com.