DUFFIELD, VA – FEBRUARY 16, 2024 – Leather slip covers for bibles, patches for hats and clothing and belts are among the leather goods items Carl Scott Leather Company, LLC is manufacturing from its new location in Duffield, Va. With a contract from an Ohio-based company in hand to make bible slip covers in four different sizes, Carl Scott began looking for ways to expand his new custom leather manufacturing business.

Carl Scott Leather Company, LLC was a recent recipient of a $10,000 Virginia Coalfield Economic Development Authority (VCEDA) Seed Capital Matching Grant. Seed capital grants are funded from regional funds received by VCEDA which are paid by the natural gas industry.

In addition to manufacturing the items here in Southwest Virginia, Scott also hopes to train and teach others in the art of leatherworks and periodically offers classes in the community.

“Carl Scott Leather Company, LLC, is providing a leather works manufacturing service that not only benefits Southwest Virginia, but obviously well beyond given the fact that the company holds a contract to produce items for another company in Ohio which markets its products in multiple states,” said Jonathan Belcher, VCEDA executive director/general counsel. “The business projects up to three full-time employees within five years.”

Scott, who has 30 years of experience in leathercrafting, purchases the leather needed to make his products as full hides (pig, cow and bison) and as straps from wholesalers in California and North Carolina and a retailer in North Carolina. Hardware in the forms of buttons, snaps, buckles, etc., are sourced from a large wholesaler/retailer in North Carolina.

“My business fills a gap in the custom leather goods market segment commercially; on the consumer level in the region; and on a small leather craft manufacturing scale nationwide,” Scott said.

His contract for the bible slip covers will see the Scott County business produce 3,000 to 5,000 annually. The business is located in the small business incubator at the Pioneer Center.

Funds from the VCEDA grant, he said, are being used to purchase a large laser engraver to cut pieces for production.

“Acquisition of a laser engraver will allow me to not only greatly improve production and accuracy, but It will afford the opportunity to engrave and cut on many other materials which will allow me to develop other product lines to complement leather goods,” Scott said. “I will also be able to market highly personalized finished goods with a much shorter turnaround time.

“As a small business, the seed capital grant from VCEDA gave me funds to leapfrog into the next scale of production,” Scott added. “It opens a lot of doors to streamline my production capabilities. It’s a real windfall.”

The belts and patches he makes now, as well as leather crafted Christmas ornaments and key fobs are marketed on a consignment basis with other local businesses and the list of those taking the goods on consignment continues to grow.

“Inventory has been an issue, but the new equipment will address that,” Scott said.

Scott worked with the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) at Mountain Empire Community College (MECC) in developing his application to VCEDA and received a letter of support from the Scott  County Industrial Development Authority.

“The SBDC recently had the privilege of visiting Carl at his artisan leathermaking shop, providing us with a firsthand glimpse into the meticulous craftsmanship behind the creations of Carl Scott Leather Company,” said Becki O’Quinn-Purdie, SBDC program director at MECC. “It is abundantly clear that Carl’s dedication and expertise shine through in every meticulously crafted piece he produces. Carl takes immense pride in his craft, handcrafting leather products to deliver exceptional quality and craftsmanship. His commitment to excellence is evident in every custom item he creates. Mountain Empire Community College’s SBDC is pleased to have collaborated with Carl as he embarks on expanding his business, bringing forth new opportunities to share his exceptional skills not only within our region, but also beyond.”

Carl Scott Leather Company, LLC is located at 225 Boone Trail Road, Room 305, in Duffield. It may be reached at 513-673-6261.

About Virginia Coalfield Economic Development Authority and Southwest Virginia’s e-Region: The Virginia Coalfield Economic Development Authority, created by the Virginia General Assembly in 1988 to enhance and diversify the region’s economy and help create jobs, markets Southwest Virginia’s e-Region and its focus on electronic information technology, energy, education, emerging technologies, and entrepreneurship. VCEDA is a unique economic development organization that manages funds for economic development projects from a percentage of the coal and natural gas severance taxes paid by coal and natural gas companies that operate in the region. Located in southwestern Virginia, the region includes Buchanan, Dickenson, Lee, Russell, Scott, Tazewell, and Wise counties and the City of Norton. www.vceda.us or www.e-Region.org.

About the Virginia Coalfield Economic Development Authority Seed Capital Matching Grant Fund: VCEDA region for-profit businesses, within qualifying business categories, one year and under with less than 10 full-time employees are eligible to apply for dollar-for-dollar matching grants up to $10,000 from the VCEDA Seed Capital Matching Fund. Applicants work with the Small Business Development Centers at Mountain Empire and Southwest Virginia community colleges to prepare the applications to VCEDA that include detailed business and financial plans. Businesses must be located in or plan to operate in the VCEDA region in southwestern Virginia that includes Buchanan, Dickenson, Lee, Russell, Scott, Tazewell, and Wise counties and the City of Norton.