In Rua Domingos Carrancho, we find the Renovadora dos Arcos, a very old cobbler establishment that could easily be the face of local commerce. Such houses witness the evolution of traditional shops and workshops, so it will not be at all unusual to proclaim this Aveiro’s cobbler shop the true source of inspiration of the platform Comércio Nosso.
Behind the small counter awaits one of the masters, Dário Martins, ready to relate his experiences, while João Martins, eternal companion of profession, gives the final touches in the heel of a boot and shares curiosities and facts forgotten by the time that could only be retained by one true enthusiast of history.
Our epic begins at Sever do Vouga, with the young Dario learning the art of good cobbling in a workshop, focused on the maintenance of boots for the workers of the Minas do Braçal. Life was hard and Dario, hoping to build a better future, embarked for Brazil. The house was far away, but the homesick ones were always close by. Nevertheless, Dario continued to perfect his profession until 1982, when he decided to return to the land that saw him born. His stay was temporary, however, since the city of Aveiro, with its commerce and movement, represented the best chance of practicing a function that he already knew very well. He was able to find a job at Renovadora dos Arcos, where he got acquainted with Mario, also emigrated to Brazil, in one of those curiosities.
The two friends remember when the Praça do Peixe crowded with passers-by on their way to the many businesses that swarmed in the alleyways. In friendly races against the clock, Mário and Joao would fix their clients' shoes while they were shopping, in a bustle that can only be seen at night closed to the many bars in the area. They tell us about an old Games Room where now stands the Bólide restaurant, the Casa do Café instead of Tasquinha do Leitão and the Curtain Shop that occupied the site of the Gelataria Milano. Even the well-known Megahits disc store gave way, in the retrospective look of the pair of cobblers, to an electronics store. Their own small store was divided into two workplaces, namely that of Mrs. Bemvinda and the shoemaker Mr. Graça who still worked on the ground at candlelight.
Such is the vision of one who has the privilege of experience, capable of pushing back the curtain of history. However, not only are places remembered. Dário and João also describe their clientele. Some, known since ever, others more recent, all of them a target of attention of who already treats, not only the clients, but also the profession, by 'you'. There are faces and names that linger in the memory of the two professionals, many of whom are already the children and grandchildren of the older customers, who see in these two old-time cobblers, family friends, dedicated masters of an art that is urgent to preserve, for the sake of our shoes and the soul that wears them.