Hobby becomes business at Remington Leather
New shop offers custom items
A 15-year passion has turned into a new business for Thomas Remington with the launch of Remington Leather in Fort Dodge.
The business, located at 23 S. First St., features all unique, handcrafted items inspired by customers and brought to reality by Remington.
“Opening a shop is the ultimate of what I’ve always wanted to do,” said Remington. “It’s something I felt Fort Dodge needed. There isn’t another leather shop in a 150-mile radius. It’s something that’s unique.”
Remington officially opened his shop on Jan. 27. The Greater Fort Dodge Growth Alliance will hold a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 4 p.m. Tuesday.
However, working with leather and creating hand-made items is something Remington has been doing for quite some time.
“It was just something I loved doing and it got to the point where I couldn’t do it out of my house anymore,” he said. “I fell into it as a hobby. “
Remington said his specialty is custom-made goods. He’ll design belts, wallets, holsters, cases, portfolios, purses and checkbook covers and more. He’ll make any custom-made gift a customer can envision.
However, he makes sure each item isn’t like any other that he creates.
“I want everything I make to be what the customer wants, not what I want,” he said. “I’d love for customers to come down to the shop and see the material I have and feel that material. It really starts with pen and paper. I’ll sit down with them and draw up something. I’ll make a prototype and if we don’t like it, I’ll go back to the drawing board.”
Remington said he can pretty much order any type of material for his products. He’s made items out of ostrich skin and lizard along with traditional leather material.
He’s also able to make anything with a laser cutter that he purchased and can offer custom-made products out of different types of materials. He also offers repair work on damaged materials along with knife sharpening.
“I haven’t seen the traffic that I anticipated, but that’s the nature of the beast,” he said. “I am sure that when word gets out, it’ll pick up. I want people to know when they go to a place like Hobby Lobby or something like that and they don’t have what they want, they can come see me.”
Remington said time spent on a project can range from just an hour to several hours, depending on what customers order. He’s done about 25 projects since opening. He’s got some items available for sale in his shop like wallets, cell phone holders and key chains. He also offers some leather patch hats.
He hopes to expand his inventory, but also said he’ll take on the challenge of designing and making just about anything a customer wants.
“Everything I do will be a one-off,'” he said. “I won’t make copies of anything I make. It might look similar, but it will all be a unique design. Nothing will be mass produced.”
Remington also invested a lot of capital in the equipment for his shop. Included in that are some hand tools that are more than 100 years old.
Remington has taken orders from all across the country. He packages and ships orders from his shop as well. He also plans to attend several vendor shows and bring along some of his projects.
Right now it’s just Remington and his dog, Leela, at the shop. He said his daughters will probably start helping once summer arrives.
He does have a small website, but wants that to be just a starting point for customers. He said having a conversation with them and learning about their ideas helps him create the best products for customers.
His shop hours are 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Thursday. He’s open 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. However, since he’s a one-man operation right now, he said he could be closed during the day when he’s picking up materials.
The shop number is 515-576-9942. His website is www.remingtonleather.com.
“People can send me a message on my website or give me a call or just come down and we’ll talk about what they envision,” he said.