Roma’s Boots & Shoe Repair crafts a custom fit for the famous and not so famous
Roma’s Boots & Shoe Repair has been quietly bustling in the Village of Preston Hollow since 1986 due to the enduring hard work and excellent craftsmanship of proud owner Gonzalo Godinez.
“Roma’s is easier to spell and to remember than Gonzalo’s,” he said, smiling. “My father’s name was Roman.”
He and his handful of employees craft beautiful cowboy boots from scratch.
“I keep files of measurements from 20 years ago,” Gonzalo said. “Boots for Tony Dorsett, Novacek, a lot of famous people. I used to have framed pictures of a lot of famous people, but I started hearing things: ‘Gonzalo, you’re getting too famous! You’re going to get expensive!’”
So, he took them down.
“I don’t like the fame. What matters to me is my bank account. Fame doesn’t pay my bills. If you want to stop work at 6, and go out drinking, watch TV, whatever, you’re not going to have anything. That’s why I’m proud of my kids. They listen. Now they have big businesses and are doing wonderful.”
Godinez and his children own and operate printing shops, food trucks, and soccer leagues.
“I’ve been married 46 years,” he said. “I’ve got seven grandkids, and now I’m a great-grandparent. It’s wonderful.”
Custom boots start at $495 and can go up to $3,000.
“I’ve been making Clay Cooley’s boots since he was a young car salesman,” Godinez said. “I make boots for his whole family and for managers of all the stores.”
“I was making a pair of boots for Alan White, the owner of Plains Capital Bank,” he said, recalling a rare but costly mistake. “Alligator belly skin. I positioned the die cutter myself, and I accidentally cut two left feet — a $1,600 mistake. I had to reorder the skin. Those things hurt.”
I caught him just before the shop closed for an annual one-week summer holiday in Mexico.
“We close completely; that’s the best,” he said. “When you leave your business in someone else’s hands, there are always problems. For a long time, I was afraid to take off. But the first time I did, I said, ‘Man, I should’ve done this a long time ago.’”
The recent threat of a rent hike led him to make the surprise announcement that he might close the beloved shop. But after a torrent of phone calls and emails from loyal customers and fellow tenants, the property owners acquiesced, realizing what a gem they had in Godinez.
“I signed a five-year lease, so now I have time to decide,” he noted. “I’ll be 68 by then.”