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The Big Shoe has a big sole and a cobbler with a big personality | Bartell's Backroads

"I'm inside the stinky shoe," Filipe Torres said, laughing. "That's what the kids say when they come."

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — It's not the biggest attraction in Kern County, but it's pretty hard to miss. Located in Bakersfield at the corner of Chester Avenue and 10th Street is The Big Shoe Shoe Repair.

The 25-foot-tall, 32-foot-long shoe-shaped building is Filipe Torres' workshop. There are all sorts of things you can say about big shoes, but if you walk into Torres' shop, you'll be met by big personality.

"I'm inside the stinky shoe," Torres said, laughing. "That's what the kids say when they come."

With an interior of just 370 square feet, the Big Shoe is actually not a big shoe shop, Torres said, and that's led to some storage issues.

When you walk inside, you will notice the cobbler is not very organized.

"But I know where everything is," Torres said.

Built by Chester Deschwanden in 1947, The Big Shoe was a family business until Chester's son Donald Deschwanden died in 1992.

For more than a decade, the shoe sat until Torres, for a lack of a better phrase, stepped in.

"I was without a job, and this place was for rent," Torres laughed.

With more than 30 years of experience in shoe repair and shoe construction, Felipe can pretty much fix any shoe except for one — The Big Shoe.

"When this shoe starts falling apart, who's going to repair it," Torres asked. "I wish it could be me, because I repair shoes. But the building? Not me."

Let's just hope that day never comes. You can visit the Big Shoe daily. While you are there, get a free shoe repair estimate.

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