Since 1966 there’s been a cobbler shop on 73rd Street.  While the current proprietors haven’t worked the business for fifty years, the longevity and milestone of that service business is noted.  Another business milestone recognized in this issue is Elements of Time, who has waited on customers for the past fifteen years on Sunset Drive.

Two very different businesses, they are united by their ability to thrive while remaining focused on providing excellent, personalized service to their customers.

Luisa assisting a customer. Jose Luis repairing a lady’s shoe heel.

Gem Shoe Repair is a small shop that has the look and aroma of an old-fashioned, no nonsense shoe repair shop. A cobbler’s trade is all about leather, stitching, dyeing, and polishing. It’s about restoring and reviving shoes. It’s about saving your Gucci bag, bringing your Louis Vuitton briefcase back to life, and re-sewing your favorite belt. At Gem, leather takes center stage in all forms from clothing to shoes to cushions.

“People know us. Our success continues thanks to word-of-mouth,” said Luisa Barboza of Gem. That success is born of decades in the business. Jose Luis Barboza apprenticed and trained as a cobbler—a trade he has honed over five decades. The husband and wife team most recently operated a shoe repair shop in Boca Raton before purchasing the Gem in 2005.

Luisa and Jose share the responsibilities of operating the store. “I love customer service and enjoy the challenge of restoring and dyeing leather,” said Luisa.  Jose is responsible for all the leather-salvaging and repairing brought in by customers.

Gem was recognized as the “Best Shoe Repair in the World, 2010” by Town and Country Magazine and in 2008 as the “Best Shoe Repair” by

As for running a business in South Miami’s Town Center, Luisa said, “We work with excellent people who are happy customers.”

Gem is located at 5721 SW 73 Street. Operating hours are 8a to 5:30p, Monday through Friday, and 9a to 4p on Saturday. (They do not accept credit cards but an ATM is available onsite.) Contact them at 305.665.1541.

Tami (left) with Sharon, Ilsa and Hello Kitty.

Elements of Time features timely and imaginative gifts. Everything the young-at-heart would want is packed into the shop. Romero Britto’s primary colors brighten up the shelves from key chains to coffeepots. Hello Kitty is in residence and the latest in Emoji-themed products such as pillows, scarves and cards are here.

Tami Steiner-Aizenstat extolls the virtues of the ZÜCA carry-all invented by a husband and wife team to alleviate back pain that children experience from carrying heavy backpacks to and from school. The bags are designed to roll along easily and come complete with a seat on top that can hold up to 200 pounds.

“We are happy to service the products we sell. We even helped a client who had a problem with a ZÜCA he purchased online and not from us. We believe in going the extra mile for our customers,” said Tami.

Elements of Time offers a monogramming service done in the shop, custom-made jewelry, and personalized stationery.  It also sells estate and vintage time pieces such as Rolex and Cartier, as well as vintage designer purses. The family-oriented shop boasts loyal clients spanning generations. Tami and her team members Ilsa Whitehurst and Sharon Wohl provide a shopping and delivery service, along with gift-wrapping. Not much time on your hands? Call ahead, park behind the store and knock on the back door. Your gift will be ready and waiting for fast pick-up.

Elements of Time is located at 5800 Sunset Drive and is opened 10a to 6p Monday through Saturday, and noon until 5p on Sunday. Contact them at 305.667.5556 or visit online at .


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