His name is Ryszard Ziętek and he wouldn’t let me take his picture because he’s a bit camera shy. You will have to go see him for yourself. He is a very sweet man who smiles and takes his work very seriously.
He studied in the city of Poznań,for years as an apprentice, under a master who taught him everything he knows. His craft is nearly extinct now because he repairs umbrellas for a living.
Be honest. Have you ever thought about fixing your umbrella? I hadn’t either. Ever.
These days when your umbrella breaks, you throw it away and buy a new one. Can you think of anything that’s worth repairing these days, besides your car? Everything is practically disposable and we could probably debate for a long time about whether that’s good or bad…
Anyway Mr. Ziętek opened his shop 40 years ago, in 1976. Back then in Poland you couldn’t just go to the store and buy anything you needed. There were rations and if there was a shipment of umbrellas, for example, people would buy umbrellas even if they didn’t need them because they didn’t know when there might be umbrellas for sale again. (Yeah.. I know).
And what happened if you didn’t hear about the umbrellas in time or they were sold out by the time you got there? Well, you had to fix the old broken umbrella you had.
These days Mr. Ziętek says that most of his business comes from selling new umbrellas and fixing big, garden umbrellas. In the autumn and winter some people still come to fix their umbrellas for sentimental value. He says that once in a while some young (hipster) man or woman will come in with an inherited umbrella that their grandparents used to use. Some of these are from high quality brands such as Knyps, Kobalt, Lord or Darling.
Mr. Ziętek fixed my BERLIN umbrella and now it’s good as new! If you have a nice umbrella, please consider fixing it! And if you need a new umbrella, maybe you can buy it at Mr. Ziętek’s shop. You can see Mr. Ziętek’s “office” which appears not to have changed since 1976, when it opened. You can feel what Poland was like during that time!
I highly recommend stopping by and taking a peek inside!
ADDRESS: al. Wyzwolenia 77 (accross from the new Dana Hotel)
Hours: 10am – 4pm
The moral of the story is: Don’t throw your favorite umbrella away! You can fix it! 🙂