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When you make the turn and head down the little hill to Berlin Leather & Shoe, part of Schrock's Heritage Village in Berlin, you may imagine the sound of a lasso wooshing overhead as you are drawn into the store.
Rodeo season is in full swing and whether you are a rider, roper or a visitor enjoying the shops and sights, Berlin Leather & Shoe is a mighty fine place to spend the day. You may leave with a new cowboy hat to tip "hello" as you greet your neighbor.
Owned by the Schrock family, Berlin Leather & Shoe is managed by Firman Hershberger. Hershberger's brother, David, first started the Berlin Antique Mall (also located in Schrock's Heritage Village) roughly nine years ago. A year later he opened Berlin Craft Mall, and a year after that, Berlin Leather & Shoe. David still works locally for a non-profit rehabilitation center.
Before you get into the shoes, boots and western wear accessories be sure to check out their home dcor and log furniture. Hershberger strives to get as much locally-made merchandise in the shop as he can and the log furniture can be custom built if need be since it is made nearby by a man named Ray.
They also sell gun holsters, antler ceiling lights, apparel, and belt buckles. The Twisted X brand of boots and shoes has been a popular addition this year, along with their standby brands like Minnetonka and Ariat.
If you're heading into the elements, their Outback oilskin coats will keep you dry for up to 24 hours and the lighter Canyon Cloth coats are perfect for summer storms. The merchandise at Berlin Leather & Shoe gives you all the options you can think of. For travelers, they have hats that can be folded and stuck inside a suitcase, bouncing back to their original shape when you take them out.
There are around 2,000 different belts available in the store, many of them American made, with some of the more stylized belts being imported. The belts sold are in many ways functional, but there is also a flashy side to the ones that show a little dazzle and sparkle. Folks with a Texas-sized sense of style and an affinity for Nashville fashion will feel right at home shopping here.
Why struggle to find a belt with the perfect fit and color when you can have a belt cut and custom fitted to just the right size at Berlin Leather & Shoe? Their hand stamping tools and hole punches will give you a personalized piece of leather to take home and add to your wardrobe. You'll probably be so happy with your own purchase, you may decide to bring home a gift for someone special while you're there. (Berlin Leather & Shoe is a place where it is okay to treat yourself).
You'll find the perfect sandals when the sun is out and you're hunting for a fresh look to put some pep in your step. The Ariat line of Cruiser shoes for women comes in an array of expressive patterns and colors to provide both comfort and cutting edge style. Berlin Leather also has a decent selection of gypsy cowgirl boots, which are always in high demand, particularly around fair season.
A favorite photo op is their horse stool up at the front of the store. "People like to put the kids up there and take a picture," said Hershberger. "It's definitely a conversation starter." The stool gives a humorous appearance to the person seated in it, making their legs look like the legs and tail of a horse.
There is also a neighboring business in the same building, a pet supplies store that has improved and expanded over the past couple of years. Their wall of toys has something for even the pickiest of pooches. Your pet will leave in style with adorable outfits, leashes and collars that can be customized with a little help from the staff at Berlin Leather & Shoe.
Berlin Leather & Shoe and Berlin Pets & Supplies are located in the same building within Schrock's Heritage Village at 4363 SR 39 in Berlin. Business hours are Monday-Thursday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Friday and Saturday, 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. For more information call 330-893-7038, ext. 3 or visit www.amishfarmvillage.com to learn about all of the businesses incorporated with Schrock's Heritage Village.
Finally, our regular readers will be happy to note that Elmer Yoder, a former Berlin Leather & Shoe employee, is now a professional auctioneer. Yoder had worked at the store for several years and also sold his beautiful paintings there. We're happy to report that his dream of becoming an auctioneer is finally a reality.