In January of 2004, I took ownership of a small saddle shop off Hwy 21 in Bryan, TX. I had spent the previous two years working and apprenticing in that shop under the guidance of Jim Plantt. Jim and I became very good friends and he helped me to begin my saddle making career. When the opportunity presented itself for the 24 year old me to purchase the business, I thought “Why Not?”
Over the next 16 years, I worked hard to grow the business, build relationships, and above all else, create a quality product and service. We had our ups and downs as all businesses experience. I spent 10 years in that location before selling the property in order to downsize a little and focus on my custom work and less on managing a store.
For the past five years or so, I have focused on my saddle list, custom work, and expanding the LeatherCraft Education side of our business. The latter has become a passion for me that allows me to continue my call of making quality gear as well as passing on the knowledge I have of the craft. We have been operating all of this from a private studio setting which cut down on the “store management” side of the business. This gave me more time to focus on my family and my skills.
Much has changed in my life and business over this time. The greatest change was having my children. This time has been amazing and I have learned a ton about working to balance all aspects of my life so that I am present as I can be. It is amazing how a man’s goals change after he becomes a father.
With all that being said, we are relocating our family and Don Gonzales Saddlery to a city that we feel is the best choice for our family and business. Many of you may already know that I am originally from South Texas. Although I am from the Corpus Christi area, we are not moving that far south. We are moving to Moulton, TX which is just about as far south as I want to go. My mom and dad found this little town while out scouting around for property one weekend. Dad was planning on retirement from his career and wanted to get off the coast and settle in an area where he could relax and raise a few cows. They purchased a house there and after retirement they moved in and he set to looking for land. Unfortunately he wasn’t able to see that through. We lost dad in 2013. My mom stayed and we have spent many weekends and holidays there becoming very familiar with the area. Continue reading