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Boots certified by the National Fire Aegis Association are activated for blaze resistance, bond strength, cut and breach resistance, beaming aegis and charwoman shrinkage.

One affair they’re not activated for is comfort.

For that, Nick’s Handmade Boots at 6510 E. Sprague Ave. relies on chump feedback, of which there is no shortage.

“Easily the best boots I’ve anytime owned,” wrote a acreage architect and casual wildland firefighter. Afterwards constant “the best barbarous break-in that you can imagine,” the chump said his boots now “wear like slippers. I’m serious.”

Reported another, “The quality, craftsmanship, backbone and, best important of all, abundance of (my steel-toe Contenders) boots are additional to none. I’m on my anxiety for 10-12 hours a day, and at the end of the day the aftermost affair on my apperception is demography off my boots.”

Making abiding Nick’s boots are both abiding and fit appropriately is the albatross of assembly administrator Sergy Sherbinin, who has been authoritative cossack for 26 years – 17 of those at Nick’s.

During a contempo interview, he discussed China, cellos and why Nick’s afflicted its name.

S-R: Area did you abound up?

Sherbinin: In Ukraine.

S-R: What part?

Sherbinin: Kharkiv (population 1.4 million).

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S-R: What did you do for fun?

Sherbinin: I played football (soccer) and hockey.

S-R: What was your aboriginal job?

Sherbinin: Back I was 10, I formed at a huge Soviet government ability area they stored all sorts of agronomical products. My job was allowance amount trucks with aureate and added crops.

S-R: As a teenager, did you accept a career in mind?

Sherbinin: The abridgement was absolutely bad then, but a acquaintance said I could get a job authoritative shoes. So I enrolled in a two-year affairs offered by a shoe manufacturer. The academy was free, but the accord was you had to assignment two years for the shoe branch afterwards you graduated.

S-R: What was the branch like?

Sherbinin: It was huge – bags of people. My job was alive at a agent belt, allowance accomplish men’s dress shoes and kids’ boots. Aloof our band fabricated 2,000 to 3,000 brace of shoes a day.

S-R: Again what?

Sherbinin: Afterwards two years I quit, and me and my cousin, who additionally formed at the factory, opened our own shoe-repair and custom shoemaking business. We fabricated women’s and men’s dress shoes, which we awash for the agnate of $15 or $20. They weren’t high-end, Italian-quality shoes, but they were acceptable shoes. Later, my brother-in-law and I started a baby shoe-manufacturing business. But we weren’t able to attempt with shoes advancing in from China and Turkey. Their (retail) amount was beneath than the amount of our abstracts because we were aggravating to accomplish good-quality covering shoes. So we abdicate in 2000, back I was 24, and I confused here.

S-R: What was your affiliation with Spokane?

Sherbinin: My earlier sister and several uncles and aunts lived here. They arrive me and helped me afterwards I arrived.

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S-R: What was your antecedent consequence of Spokane?

Sherbinin: It wasn’t as big as the burghal I came from, but I admired it.

S-R: Did you accept any agitation award work?

Sherbinin: No. My aboriginal job was with a aggregation that fabricated affected broiler wood. Afterwards three months they didn’t accept any orders, and I got laid off. That was on a Friday, and the aing Monday I came to assignment at Nick’s.

S-R: What was your aboriginal job at Nick’s?

Sherbinin: Hand-sewing boots.

S-R: Is that like starting at the bottom?

Sherbinin: There is no basal or top. I started out hand-sewing because the guy who did it afore me quit, and they approved two added bodies who were no good. I’d already fabricated boots, so it didn’t booty me continued to bethink how to do that accurate job. But I’d never formed with such blubbery covering in Ukraine.

S-R: Again you confused on to added jobs?

Sherbinin: Yes. I was arch of the abiding administration for a continued time.

S-R: Describe “lasting.”

Sherbinin: That’s back you amplitude the attract (upper-front covering of the boot) over the top of the aftermost (the anatomy that gives a cossack its shape) and cement and attach it to a covering sole.

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S-R: Back did you become assembly manager?

Sherbinin: A year ago.

S-R: How has business been the accomplished 17 years?

Sherbinin: We did able-bodied until 2008, back the abridgement fell. Again we aloof did OK. Today, we’re actual busy.

S-R: Has the assembly action afflicted abundant during that time?

Sherbinin: It’s appealing abundant the same. A lot of our accessories – duke accoutrement and bed-making machines – hasn’t afflicted in added than 50 years. But we’ve added a few new cossack styles.

S-R: Are all of Nick’s boots custom?

Sherbinin: No. Our name acclimated to be Nick’s Custom Boots. Now it’s Nick’s Handmade Boots, because we additionally accomplish boots in accepted sizes that bodies can airing in and buy. Custom agency fabricated for a accurate customer, based on their bottom and any appropriate requests they have. Lately, we haven’t fabricated any banal boots because we accept so abounding custom orders.

S-R: Is there a busiest time of year?

Sherbinin: From bounce until August, because of the bonfire season. May is crazy.

S-R: Besides NFPA-certified firefighting boots, what added cossack do you accomplish for specific jobs?

Sherbinin: Logger boots, lineman boots, dress boots. Quite a ambit of choices.

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S-R: If bodies don’t alive a Spokane, how do they get fit for custom boots?

Sherbinin: We can address them “try on” boots aing to their sizes so they see how they fit. Also, they can download a area from our website and trace the outline of their anxiety on paper. If they accept abnormal feet, we can body a custom aftermost that matches their appearance and accumulate that for whenever they charge a new pair.

S-R: How abounding bodies are complex in authoritative a distinct brace of custom boots?

Sherbinin: Roughly 18 to 20.

S-R: Besides a custom fit, do bodies accept appropriate requests?

Sherbinin: All the time. Some appetite three or four altered colors of covering – alike alien leathers – and maybe an abnormal blush of stitching. I’ve heard that Japanese dealers buy our boots, add absolutely adorned argent buckles, and advertise them to bikers for bags of dollars.

S-R: Do acclaimed bodies abrasion your boots?

Sherbinin: We fabricated a brace for Josh Brolin for the (2017) firefighter cine “Only the Brave.” We congenital boots for all the actors in that movie, and they wore them cutting the movie.

S-R: “Custom” sounds like the boots should fit appropriate out of the box. But do you accept to breach them in?

Sherbinin: Always. And if you go somewhere, you should booty forth your approved shoes so you can booty off your custom boots back they alpha to hurt, which could be in 15 account at first.

S-R: What wears out aboriginal on assignment boots?

Sherbinin: The heel cap. We resole our boots for $100, and clean them for $200. Some bodies accept the cheers rebuilt two or three times afore the high covering assuredly wears out. But if addition works about a lot of chemicals, their boots may be broiled afterwards one year.

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S-R: Do custom boots crave abundant maintenance?

Sherbinin: Aloof applying oil and grease occasionally.

S-R: Your boots are pricier than what bodies about pay for footwear. Does Nick’s anytime accept promotions?

Sherbinin: Yes. For Father’s Day, for instance, we’re alms chargeless socks, laces and grease with the acquirement of a $450 allowance card.

S-R: What do you like best about your job?

Sherbinin: Back bodies acquaint us how abundant they acknowledge article we congenital for them. We sometimes anathema the covering we assignment with because it’s so stubborn. But we apperceive that’s what makes our boots special.

S-R: What do you like least?

Sherbinin: The aroma of cement can be annoying. But the buyer (Steve Mowe of Seattle) afresh purchased a new air filtration system, which will be installed in a few weeks.

S-R: What challenges does the aggregation face?

Sherbinin: Award bodies who are acceptable with their hands. This is a concrete job. And cossack makers don’t acquire a lot.

S-R: You’ve excelled at concrete labor. Do you accept any abstruse talents that ability abruptness people?

Sherbinin: (laugh) I advised cello in music academy for seven years in Ukraine, but I haven’t played in a continued time.

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Writer Michael Guilfoil can be contacted at [email protected]

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