Texas Folklife

The Real Life of Texas Folk By Gene Fowler  “It’s practically died off,” said rawhide braider Travis “Rowdy” Pate, at the Texas Folklife Festival in San Antonio circa 1985, when asked if his art form still flourished in the South Texas brush country around his native Pearsall. “Nobody learned it.”  In the same interview, —practically in the same breath, however—Rowdy allowed, “I […]


En Pointe

The Success Story of Cardinal Shoe American manufacturer finds its niche in high-tech ballet shoes By Lynn Ascrizzi In an on-stage solo, principal ballerina,Michaela DePrince, flies like a bright-feathered, gravity-defying bird, her arms stretched wing-like above her head and her expressive face turned upward, as if  searching for a distant star. What is easily missed […]


Montello Heel: An Industry Icon

By Liisa Andreassen Handcrafting custom heels and maintaining a solid foothold for more than a century, Montello Heel MFG., Inc. is a third-generation family business that makes stacked leather heels for American-made shoes and boots. Based in Brockton, Massachusetts, and housed in the same building since 1908, the company’s namesake comes from the area of the […]


Lifetime Leather

Arizona Company was founded on True Grit and Talent By Lynn Ascrizzi  When times are tough, sheer inspiration, like an angel of grace, can come unbidden at the most unexpected moments — even though it might first appear in the guise of a discarded leather couch.   This was the experience of Ty Bowman, founder and owner of Lifetime Leather, a seven-year-old family business based in San Tan Valley, Arizona.  […]


Blackrock Leather ‘N’ Rich

Preserving Leather for Generations By Danna Burns-Shaw  Family Business Family businesses are the backbone of the American economy. Did you know that the greatest part of America’s wealth lies with family-owned businesses, and, that small family businesses employ just over half of US workers?  Family businesses have a deep-seated culture, founded with core values. They have a defined purpose and they care about their community and their employees. […]


Maverick Leather

Old School Meets New School By Nick Pernokas  Matt Foster wasn’t always in the leather business. He started out as a loan officer in a bank, but he was looking for a more satisfying path. Matt’s brother had been working for some leather companies in California and Matt was intrigued by the leather business. The pair joined forces […]