When the economy's broke, not everything gets fixed

LEXINGTON, Ky. _ Tough economic times are good for business at the Shoe Doc in the Eastland Shopping Center.

"We always do better when the economy turns down," said employee Linda Stansell. "It’s cheaper to get shoes repaired than go out and buy new ones." For women’s shoes, the Shoe Doc charges $6.50 for new heels. "So even if they have a $10 pair of shoes, it’s better to get new heels than go and buy a new pair," Stansell said.

As the economy tightens, repair shops that fix washers, dryers, dishwashers, televisions, even automobiles, frequently see business pick up as consumers opt to get an item repaired rather than buy new. It’s cheaper.

Yet several repair shop owners and service managers said even they are seeing a slowdown.

"If a dishwasher’s broke, for $1.49 each, you can buy a lot of bottles of Dawn instead of paying a $75 service fee, plus parts," said Donnie Prather, owner of Prather Services, an appliance repair business.

"Or take a stove. Say the oven won’t bake," he said. "That’s no big deal as long as you’ve got four burners on top. Or say a burner went out. You’ve still got three more to cook on."

Working families must weigh whether to have an appliance repaired or put their money elsewhere, Prather said.