HE has run one of Govanhill's best loved businesses for the past 31 years.

But now Gerry Fleming has decided to shut up shop, leaving locals - and those from further afield - saddened by the decision.

The Cobbler, on Calder Street, is a local fixture and specialises in Irish dancing shoes.

In fact, dancers send their shoes for specialist treatment from as far afield as Australia and Canada.

But Gerry said the shop is simply no longer paying the bills and he has had to take a decision on its future.

He said: "Decision-wise it's pretty simple.

"It just doesn't make enough money to cover its bills anymore, never mind paying a wage.

"I've had 31 years and it's paid the mortgage so I don't regret my time here.

"That said, I have concluded that when it comes to being able to service your bills there is no room for dewy-eyed sentimentality and as it can no longer do this, it's time to call it a day."

Gerry made the shock announcement on Facebook on Wednesday morning.

He wrote: "Thank you all for your custom over the years and hope you all have good health and success for you and yours in the future."

The shop will close its doors for the final time on August 30.

Loyal customers took to Facebook to express their sadness at the decision, lamenting the loss of somewhere they could take everything from Doc Marten boots to be soled to designer handbags for zip repairs.

Some people assumed Gerry was retiring, although he is not.

Keith Stoddart wrote: "Happy retirement to him.

"Let's hope he enjoys it for a long time as he deserves it, only man I found who could repair Doc Martens and dancing shoes.

"It's sad when tradesmen retire and no one there to take their place.

"We need to make sure more apprenticeships are available for our young people."

Kate Cunningham said: "You are irreplaceable and a real loss to Govanhill.

"You’ve salvaged many a shoe for us over 20 odd years and I’ve just put my daughter’s leaky DM boots in a bag to bring to you before reading this.

"One pair for the road."

Kirsty Hood added: "Thank you for all the fixings.

"This is a sad reminder that we all need to use our local independent shops more.

"Best of luck with all your future endeavours."

Aileen Atherton McBrearty added: "Sorry to hear this Gerry.

"Thanks for fixing all our hard shoes from Australia over the years. Enjoy your retirement and best of luck in your new adventures."

And Maria Gilmour said: "Sorry to hear this you repaired my daughter's shoes a couple times and I won't forget you keeping shop open when we got stuck in traffic.

"Then [we got] lost on route and you stood outside so we could see you.

"Never forget that so thank you. Wishing you all the best in your new job."

Gerry made memorial plaques for a remembrance tree in Govanhill Community Garden, on Coplaw Street, and said he would continue to do this.

He was also described as "a great cobbler and a proper gent," as well as "an institution."