By Tracey O’Shaughnessy Republican-American
Longtime Naugatuck shoe repairman Sam Pollastro, 83, has closed his Sam’s Shoe Repair Shop, 76 Church St., after 41 years.
Pollastro, a native of Italy, came to the U.S. in 1961, without knowing English. He worked at a foundry, at a brass manufacturer, drove an oil truck for Mobil, ran a power plant at the Southbury Training School and even dug graves for $3.75 an hour before starting his shoe repair business.
In celebration of his work, the business will hold an open house on Nov. 12, from noon to 3 p.m. at 66 Church Street restaurant in Naugatuck from noon to 3 p.m.
“If you like to work, you like to do it, you can do it,” Pollastro told the Republican-American in 2017. “Nobody’s going to stop you. I come to this country, I don’t have a penny. It’s my passion. I like to fix stuff. Believe it or not I like so much here. I am proud every shoes I fix. Before coming to this door, I got to be happy myself. I buy the best. I take my time. I want to be proud of the work I do. Every morning that I get up, I can’t wait to come here, talk with the public, the day go by fast. I am my own boss.”
For most of his life, he worked two jobs. In the 1960s, after saving $6,000, he bought a plot of land in Derby.
Together, he and a carpenter friend built the house from scratch. He and a carpenter worked side by side to build a house in Derby in which we still lives in and in which he raised three children.
“I did two jobs because I wanted to get ahead. If you just want to eat, that’s nothing. I don’t like to just get by. I like to get ahead.” Pollastro told the newspaper.
“From everything he was able to do in his life, from being born in Italy, not knowing the language when he came here, everything that he has done, he has overcome so many obstacles,” said his daughter, Anna. “He really emphasized to us to never to give up, always to stay strong, that you’re going to make mistakes, but just get up and do it again.”
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