Sunday, February 5, 2012

The Times They Were A Changing

With the draft behind me, I approached my partner, Ron Raffey and offered to buy him out. At first he was reluctant but a persuasive pitch and the lure of money won him over. My first task was to change the name of the shop from One If By Land to The Leather Shop. The second task was to rid the place of the incense, candles and posters that cluttered the place. My third task was to start building an inventory of leather items to fit the new name.

One machine that I obtained in this process was an American straight needle stitcher. It served me very well for many years in making sandals and shoes. The old shoe repairman's long finishing line was replaced by a more modern and powerful machine in 1970.

Here is the American Straight Needle Stitcher and
Sanding/Finishing Machine in My Basement - 2012

Milwaukee has always been a leather city with numerous tanneries,leather related manufacturers and suppliers. I was blessed with the abundance of resources right here in my birth city. I could literally walk to several tanneries to obtain supplies. Here I was, almost in the middle of Brady Street, twenty one years old and an inspiring entrepreneur. I had left my job at the Mental Health Complex, ended my seventeen year career as a student and stepped boldly into the world of business. Nothing in my life seemed to equip me with the skills I would need to succeed but because I loved the process of making leather goods, I would survive, flourish and lead.

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