Made in Indiana: Craft leather by Silver Creek Leather Co.

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(Photo courtesy of Silver Creek Leather Co.)

History: Greg Sartor had been working at Caldwell/Moser Tannery in New Albany for about two years when, in 2002, the company closed after some 125 years in business. Sartor had been overseeing the leather lace part of the business—making shoelaces for major retailers, including Timberland, Rockport and Sperry. When the company closed, he purchased some of the equipment and supplies and launched Silver Creek Leather. He started with lacing and craft leather pieces and has expanded the product line.

Lines of business: Silver Creek cuts and packages leather laces and leather pieces for crafters under the Realeather brand and under private labels for large retailers, including Joann Fabrics, Michaels and Hobby Lobby. It also sells craft products on Amazon.com. Silver Creek manufactures a tool for sewing leather called the Speedy Stitcher, which is assembled in Jeffersonville. And it has a leather components division that manufactures specialty leather parts.

Physical footprint: Silver Creek is in a 30,000-square-foot manufacturing facility just off Interstate 265 in Jeffersonville. It has about 50 employees.

Materials: Silver Creek sources its hides—including cow, deer, water buffalo, pig and other animals—from across the world. The leather comes to the Jeffersonville facility already tanned. Workers there cut it into narrow strips for laces or into other leather pieces and package much of it for craft stores.

Popular products: Leather lacing for crafting and shoe companies. “It’s a very specialty niche business in the craft stores,” Sartor said. “It usually goes into the jewelry department, but also we make shoelaces and the little string handle ties for everything from barbecue tools to tote bags to leather earrings to whatever it happens to be.” Silver Creek also makes leather craft kits.

Fun fact: Sartor was an Eagle Scout, and Silver Creek makes leather kits for the Boy Scouts of America, which are used to earn merit badges or for troop or camp activities.

Website: SilverCreekLeather.com

—Compiled by Lesley Weidenbener

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