Since the 1970s, there's been a shoe repair shop in Hintonburg attracting generations of people looking to give their old sneakers and other shoes another year's worth of walking. But customers will have to go further to find this kind of help.

Tony Caracciolo, 70, says he's hanging up his tools after five years of unsuccessfully looking for another person to take over Tony's Repair Shop. Born in Italy, he considers the store more a house than his own residence.

"This one I call my home, because I spend more time over here than at home," he jokes.

Customers take retirement in stride

Caracciolo says he wants to spend more time with the grandkids and less bending over broken heels. His customers say they will miss him.

"If I needed a good laugh, I would just stop by and he would cheer me up," says Josephine Bailey.

Adds Carol Paschal, "It's sad. We understand that he would want to retire, but he's an institution. And it would be the second institution that we've lost in the neighbourhood in less than 6 months."

Tony's shop moved to Wellington Street West in 1976. He's seen prostitution get swept up, crime rise and fall, and other businesses come and go.

He'll rent out the shop instead to a spa, and ready to enjoy his retirement years while he's still in good health.

"What am I going to do?" he asks. "Retire. I'm healty. Better to step down."

With a report from CTV Ottawa's Stefan Keyes