Image Above: Frank Ripley the cobbler in his Dawson Creek shop. Photograph By Zoë Ducklow, Dawson Creek Mirror Frank Ripley has been fixing boots from the Peace and beyond for over 50 years. As far as he knows, he’s the only cobbler from here to Anchorage, AK. Customers come from as far north as Dawson City, YK.
In July, 2016, Frank Ripley was recognized for more than just his skill with shoes. Frank was named Rotarian of the Year by the Rotary Club of Dawson Creek, in recognition for his long-time community service.
“I always get involved in the community wherever I go,” Frank said.
He has plenty of stories about the shoe trade.
“There’s one guy who brings his cowboy boots—he’s a real cowboy, an outfitter north of Dawson City. He was camping once, with all his gear in secondary tent when a bear came along and chewed on his boots,” Frank said. “So they have these bear marks on them. A lot of history there. He brings them in to be re-soled every year.”
It’s an honour to be named Rotarian of the Year, he said, but he shrugs it off saying the whole club works hard together, and he’s no different.
“I’m not a fame and fortune kind of guy, you know. I’m not going to let it get to my head. There were other choices, other people who work hard too, but they chose me. So that feels good, but we all work hard together, so I guess it was just my number was up.”
Frank Ripley got his cobbling start as a 15 year-old working as an assistant. In the 70s, he attended a 10-month cobbler school in Vancouver before setting up Rip’s Shoe Re-Nu in Dawson Creek.