Rise Of The Fix-It Economy

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cobbler, fix-it economy
CBS
There is plenty around the country that needs fixing, reports CBS News correspondent Hari Sreenivasan.

In West Palm Beach, Judith Montrone is not waiting for the other shoe to drop. Instead, she is dropping off her shoes for repair.

"My daughter is out of work, my son is looking for work," she says. "My sister who is right here is out of work, and her boyfriend is out of work, too."

Daniel Catalfuno has been a cobbler for more than 70 years.

"A lot of 'em say they would never bother fixin' their shoes, they would throw them out," he says. "But now with things the way they are with the economy, they don't have ... they're tight for money. They're repairing everything they have."

At Catalfuno's shop, when times get tough, business steps right up.

Last November, the store brought in $16,000. This November, the store brought in $22,000 -- up 37 percent.

Scott Aherns of North Dallas Auto has been working on and under cars for nearly 20 years, and big repairs like transmissions and engine overhauls are up.

In 2007, he did 13. In 2008, he's already done 22. That's up 69 percent.

"Eighteen months ago, new engine? Forget it -- drag it over to the dealership and trade it in on something," Aherns says. "Where now a new engine can go 100,000 miles before it needs anything."

People are also trying to get more mileage out of their clothes.

Without A Trace Reweavers in Chicago has repair orders from all over the country.

"This is an Armani suit jacket, sport coat, and he got caught coming up out of a chair," Linda Mrkvicka from Without A Trace says as she shows off the jacket.

"What they're going to do is take material from the facing of the jacket and weave it in over this damaged area right here."

Last year, Without A Trace mended 5,900 pieces of clothing. This year, they've stitched more than 7,400 -- up 25 percent.

"This is the time where people are trying to save their clothes," Mrkvicka says. "They're not going out and buying new ones."

And photos show that even President-elect Obama could use a repair or two on his shoes -- welcome news for those in the fix-it business.