The Fix-It Economy

As more and more companies continue to report diminishing sales, local businesses that repair our everyday items are doing better than ever.

Local repair shops are seeing green, and lots of it. In a time when many folks cannot afford to buy new things, it seems we are truly living in a fix-it economy.

At Cottle's Boot and Shoe Repair in Amarillo, when times are tough, business steps up.

A few months ago, they were about two days behind on their workload. Now, there are so many shoes they're seven days behind. It seems folks are not spending money buying new clothes either and that's keeping the sewing machines at Connie's Alterations working double time. Owner Connie Hone says, "Lots of holes, lots of lining, coat lining is messed up. And a lot of Levis. A lot of hems are all destroyed."

US auto sales fell 12% last year and Barney's Auto Repair Owner Robert Barnhart says, "that's good for business." Good for business because that means more people than ever before are rolling into Barney's trying to make their car last as long as possible. "They'll bring it in and say whatever it needs. We may not be able to do it all at one time, but we'll get it back and get it in shape." They're even bringing in cars that have been out of commission for years. "People dragging cars out here that have been sitting there for four or five years trying to get them back on the road."

Another company citing extreme losses this year, Whirlpool. They're expecting profits to drop steeply for the second year in a row. But one local man who fixes appliances says his profits are going up. Davis Repair Owner Tim Davis says, [People] would rather pay 50, 60, 100 dollars to repair something than go out and spend 2,000 on something new.

Nearly 25-hundred Texas businesses filed bankruptcy in 2007, which goes to show that many people really are fixing the old, and not buying the new.