Bye, Mr. and Mrs. Fix-it

Boosun and Youngbae Lee will close their shoe repair shop on New Year’s Eve, but these busy souls won’t be taking it easy.

Idle retirement is not exactly what they have in mind when they shut the door of Laguna Shoe Repair for the last time.

“He didn’t graduate from university in Korea about 50 years ago, and he wants to go back to school,” said Boosun Lee, Youngbae’s wife. “He has a lot of hobbies, and he plays the mandolin. He also wants to read the Bible more.

“I am the pianist and organist at the First Presbyterian Church of Orange County, and I will teach piano and the bell choir.”

The Lees have had the shop on Glenneyre Street since 1991 and a shop on the highway for two years before that. He has a reputation for fixing anything that came his way, as evidenced by the old vacuum cleaners, mixers, espresso machines, lawn mowers and other small appliances piled up in the shop.

“He also repaired lamps and luggage,” neighbor and shop patron Jack Camp said. “I had a 50-year-old backpack that I didn’t want to part with that had multiple tears in the side and needed new zippers. Mr. Lee advised me that to repair my beloved backpack was ‘no problem’ and for me to return in three days.

“I did and it was fixed and ready to go back to the Sierras.”

Lee used an antique Singer sewing machine and other old equipment to do requested repairs.

“It was like going into a shoe and repair shop in the 1950s,” Camp said. “His prices were reasonable and the turnaround time short.”

Lee and his wife of 35 years put three daughters though college working at the store, which was rarely, if ever, closed.

“They are wonderful people and they will be missed,” Camp said.


BARBARA DIAMOND can be reached at (949) 494-4321 or coastlinepilot@latimes.com.

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