Tel: (01502 561333)
Unit1. 18 Snape Drive
Pound Farm Parade
Suffolk NR32 4SF
Monday - Saturday
9.00am - 5.30pm
Tuesday afternoons &
Saturday’s from 3.00pm
It wasn’t long before I begun collecting machines with the intention of going it alone.
In 1992 I started my pursuit of the Punch Shoe repairer of the year award and was clearly out of my depth! My history for this competition went like this,
1992 - Final twenty Then I refitted the shop, increased stock levels etc
1994 - Finalist, So I lowered my lighting and added extra lights to reduce low down shadowing, new side window signage to block out view of machine backs, tightened up on Health and Safety principles & reorganised workshop storage.
1996 - Runner-up
Between 96 & 97 I started Engraving & Watch repairs (let me down in 96) made shop front more attractive, printed bag labels price tags etc for a more professional image.
1997 - Runner-up
I was gutted that after all the effort I failed to win in 97, but onwards & upwards, I restored my old out sole stitcher (now replaced) put cupboard doors on my bench fronts, replaced shelves with cupboards. Restored a trade bike to stand outside. Got a Blake stitcher (for stitching soles on specific types footwear). Covered my benches in stainless steel for a clinical look & re-organised the shop for wheel chair access.
My slogan for the 1999, competition was “Campaigning to be the final winner of the nineteen hundreds” Finally I won!
My feet haven’t hit the ground since! This project has probably made me one of the most recognisable names in the shoe repair industry & I’m immensely proud of its achievements.
During 2007 I completely re-fitted the shop which looks great!
In October 2007 I was elected onto the CuttingEdge committee, CuttingEdge is an organisation which is involved with much of the administration side of the trade & I am very privileged to be involved with the industry at such an important level.
During 2008 as part of cutting edge I was involved with organising a charity cycling challenge ( http://www.shoerecycling.co.uk ) which raised £20.000 for the BBC’s children in need appeal. I built the accompanying web site & helped coordinate the event whilst it was running.
I am still a one man band, putting in 50+ hours each week I have never tired of the “trade” I simply love it.
My Name is Lee Ffrench I was born in January 1969 in Lowestoft hospital and grew up here in Lowestoft spending many happy days on our lovely beach. I went to school here also and spent much of my youth on Judo mats before eventually running my own Judo club, Although I am no longer involved in the sport. I left school in 1986, and went onto a YTS scheme before getting a job in a local repairers as “the boy”.
Main shop inside
My opportunity arrived in August of 1989 when by chance another repairer sold up right here in Lowestoft and
“Cobb-Lees” was born.
In just 1 week the deal was done! I had handed in my notice, sold my car cashed in my savings (I was saving for a Lotus, which I still haven’t got!) and was the proud owner of my own business! At 20 years young it took some time to get going and much help from Mum & Dad (Thanks) but gradually the business built.
During this period of time devoted to winning this national award I got married (April 1996) In 1999 our Son Ross was born and family life took over for a few years, the Punch competition stopped being run, and work life settled down. We now have 3 children Ross(1999) Simon (2003) & Carys (2006)
I have never been one to stand still for long and & in 2005 I set up a web site for the industry as I felt there was no easy way for members of the trade to communicate freely and easily with each other & the http://www.shoerepairer.info forum web site idea came to life.