My name is Douglas Stombaugh. My history in leather began in 1974, as an apprentice for Randy Clark, who had a booth at the Market for many years. I learned the basics about finishing leather in the three years that I was one of “the company” in Clark and Company. Randy learned about leather working at Dinomite Leather in Oldtown, Chicago.
I buy full hides of material and make bags, belts, several sizes of wallets and pocketbooks, knife sheaths, guitar straps, belt pouches among other things. The lacing is a waxed nylon, which is very strong.
I was fortunate enough to meet Gene Cserpes who had booth number 43 for twenty eight years. Gene made wonderful fur hats and mittens and many other items from a variety of leathers. When the time came along where he thought of retirement he wanted to pass along his knowledge so he thought of me. Unfortunately for us all Gene passed away two weeks later. Unknown to me, Gene left me his sewing machines, raw materials, and booth number 43 where Grizzlee Leather has resided for about eight years now. The name Grizzlee Leather resulted from one of my best friends, Gordon Baer, who is deceased. Gordy was one of the finest artists I have ever known. He would carve any kind of picture people would desire. I have seen people cry upon seeing the item they had ordered. Gordy said if he ever had a leather shop of his own it would be called Grizzley Leather. So to honor him I named it “Grizzlee” Leather. One of my daughters is named Haylee, hence the spelling change.