ELY – Crafting leather products is a passion for Matthew, son of Mark and Alethea Fedders. Barely out of high school, Matthew started his own business, Sioux Leather, and his skill and devotion to the craft continued to grow. When the family poultry farm was hit with the avian flu in early 2015, wiping out the entire flock, the Fedders family decided to change their focus.
By November 2015, the Fedders had purchased Lobo Gun Leather, an established online leather business. Lobo Gun Leather produced a variety of leather holsters and other products, but with Fedders ingenuity, they began to expand the product line and push the limits in leather crafting. Lobo Gun Leather is now known for their flowing lines that are esthetically pleasing. They have a large online presence within the conceal and carry industry.
When they headed on vacation, several trips landed the family—consisting of Adam, Matthew, Luke, Grace, Emma, Naomi, Anna and Talia—in Ely. Mark, Alethea, Matthew and Luke quickly realized Ely was different— it had a strong artistic influence compared to other locations they were considering. They also enjoyed the outdoor setting and the many activities available to their family.
When asked why they chose Ely over so many other places, Mark responded, “With the existing art community, it felt like a good fit. We also saw other businesses creating and producing high-end, quality products. These businesses are successful with established reputations. We liked the idea of being part of Elymade products. We are a family-based business with Matthew, Luke and me designing and producing all of the products right here in our workshop.”
Matthew noted the difference between a manufacturer and craftsman: “A craftsman makes a unique, quality product, which becomes functional art. Manufacturers stamp a design on leather and consider the product finished.” A true craftsman, Matthew spends hours handworking leather to create custom, precision designs. Shoppers at the store will be able to see demonstrations by Matthew as he carves leather products.
When the Fedders were looking at potential store locations, they were impressed by the amount of foot traffic along Sheridan Street. They selected the storefront at 134 E. Sheridan St. The new Ely store will feature leather holsters, belts, mittens, dog collars and leads, and knives.