Not many people know the origin story of Harris Leather & Silverworks. The business that outfits top horses and riders with handcrafted saddles and intricate silverwork first got its start, like most family businesses do, around the kitchen table.
“My mother learned how to carve leather, and she and my dad began making belts and purses,” Phil Harris says. “Of course, we were involved in the horse business and that naturally led to us making bridles, halters, and breastcollars – things we could use ourselves.”
Ralph often served as a judge and Mabelene worked as a show secretary, so people quickly got word of their beautiful leatherwork and wanted their own custom pieces. They started back in 1968, and the business is still going strong 55 years later.
“Ralph still comes to the leather shop every day. He will be 86 this fall,” Phil says. “My wife, Phyllis, has been here since the very beginning. My sons, Preston and Stanton, both work for us, as well as Stanton’s wife, Kimberly. Also, my brother, Eddie, and his daughter, Mary Gwyn, work in the shop.”
Keeping It in the Family