It is a truth universally acknowledged, that the discerning Gentleman well knows,
“size isn’t everything”. At least, we comfort ourselves with this maxim, even if it is partly stolen from Jane Austen.
“Good things come in small packages”. “Small is beautiful”. “Little things mean so much”. Everywhere, diminutiveness seems to be celebrated. Except, of course, when it comes to confectionary, where we have suffered much regrettable reduction in dimension. Particularly when it comes to the criminal miniaturisation of the much beloved 1970’s “Waggon Wheel!”
At Standard Engineering we have been looking at the size of our machinery for some time. Trying to offer smaller equipment to a market that was busy diversifying from the basic cobbler / key cutter, into a more dynamic multi-service provider. The premises were the same size, but the cobbler was looking to offer additional services, such as engraving, laundry, and latterly, mobile phone repair.
As far back as the mid 1990’s both Standard and Whitfield Wylie were developing smaller finishers and presses in order to offer powerful, quality shoe repair equipment to the market, whilst at the same time giving the operator more of their shop back to offer additional services to a public that were increasingly not getting their shoes repaired.
Up until this time, Standard had offered the Power range of enormous units, followed by their own versions – the Lynx / Tiger / Cougar units. All these machines were powerful, adaptable, and hard wearing. But big. Very big. Unnecessarily big. Standard’s answer was the Puma finisher (whatever happened to the “Lion” machine…?) Someone in authority at the company obviously had unacknowledged ailurophile issues! Don’t worry. I had to look it up too!
Whilst the Puma finisher was undeniably small, it was not particularly well adapted to actual shoe repairing. Much thought had gone into the aesthetics of the design, and the look of the machine. However, little thought had gone into the usability of the device. Consequently, it was saddled with different seized scouring bands to the rest of the Standard range, bayonet fitted brushes, and far too many bespoke components. Too much design, too little use.
Whitfield Wylie took a somewhat more rudimentary approach. In an attempt to produce a smaller version of the Model 700 finisher their “engineers” simply took a metaphoric chainsaw to the existing design and chopped the middle out of this machine, pushed the remaining bits together and, hey presto, the 750SP was born.
Suddenly the market had two machines fighting for the same “small machine” ground. But not for long. Within a couple of years Standard had bought out Whitfield Wylie, but chose to continue the Whitfield line of equipment. Overnight, all of Standard’s previously constructed machinery was rendered, if not out-dated, then at least put on notice of its imminent obsolescence.
The first thing the newly amalgamated company did was make a concerted push for the Model 750SP (so named because it was 75cm wide). Unfortunately, it may have been slightly ahead of its time, or the compromise nature of some of it’s working didn’t find favour. It sold. But not overly. It was never going to replace the Model 700. If the cobbler had room for the 700, they bought the 700. The 750SP was only purchased when the cobbler literally couldn’t fit another machine into the allocated space.
Now, years later, the value of smaller machinery within a busier multi-service shop is more obvious. The 750SP, now updated and upgraded as the Standard Micro Finisher is finding increasing favour in a market that is now seeing the value of making more from less within their shops.
Given that the overall footprint of the Standard Micro Finisher and Pressbench (The Standard Micro Unit) is the same as that of the Model 710 Finisher only, the attractiveness of this small, but powerful unit is obvious. This equipment, including or augmented by the Standard “Air-Flo” air filtration bench or pressbench gives today’s Cobbler the most complete, compact, quality shoe repair equipment on the market. And he can offer quality repair work within a larger, more integrated store to the public.
The day of “More from Less” may truly be here. You see, size, ISN’T everything!