HISTORY OF LEATHER MASTERS
In April 1989 David Carranza and Tony DaCosta saw the need in San Jose, California for a leather store that had quality leather clothing at reasonable prices. They started by making vests in their garage. After a couple of months they were able to move to a location above a bar named “The Heat” on Julian St. in San Jose. People laughed when they first saw the store. It was a little store, in one room, one display case with various C&B toys, wristbands, and wallets. There was also one vest and one harness hanging on the wall. They didn’t have the finances to stock a store, so they built their business reinvesting the sales into more products. Within four months they grew into a second larger room and then out-grew the building.
They moved to a building at 969 Park Ave. At the time, the building was separated into three different stores. Leather Masters was in the center, with a gun shop on the left and a gay newspaper to the right of them. They only used 600 square feet of the 1200 square feet that they had. But within a few months they had to expand into the entire space.
They grew the business by asking their customers what they wanted to see in the store. Customers began asking for a catalogue that they could give to friends outside of San Jose, so in 1991 Leather Masters came out with their first mail order catalogue. Once the catalogue was produced, other businesses started contacting Leather Masters to see if they would wholesale some of the products they made. Leather Masters then began supplying a few stores with some of their products.
In August 1991, the owner of the building asked if they would be interested in purchasing the property. Thanks to a customer (who has gone on to be a good friend and a winner of an International Leather Title) Leather Masters was able to buy the building. Over the next couple years Leather Masters eventually took over the entire 3000 square foot building and sponsored three International Titleholders.
The community began contacting us to do lectures regarding the leather, BDSM lifestyles and sexuality. They soon started doing their own seminars. In 1996, responding to the new viable business of online sales, Leather Masters launched their online website.
In 1999 and 2000 business was booming, so Leather Masters began looking at other locations for a new store. In June of 2001 they decided to open a store in Allentown, Pennsylvania. Dave and Tony went to Allentown, visited a friend and fell in love with Allentown. They found a building and bought it located at 1023 W. Hamilton Street.
After they purchased the building in Allentown, things started to get rough. The Dotcom market crashed and affected them greatly in San Jose. Then 9/11, which was another huge hit on the economy. After a lot of discussion they decided that they needed to go ahead with the opening in Allentown as planned. They felt that they needed to do what they could to help stabilize the economy, especially since this store would be on the East Coast. It was a rough 1st year but they survived and then things picked up greatly.
Allentown was open successfully for 4 years. In 2004 a bar owner in San Antonio contacted Leather Masters to open a bar store in San Antonio Texas. Since this was where one of the owner’s mother lived, they decided to do so. 2005 was a turbulent year. The store in Allentown, although successful, had to close due to harassment by the city of Allentown, PA. Then during the same time, the bar store that opened in San Antonio was not doing well. So both Allentown and San Antonio stores closed. The saving grace was that we were contacted by Leather by Boots about buying-out their store in Dallas, Texas during the same time.
In June 2005 we opened Leather Masters, Dallas, Texas. Leather by Boots added its 25 year history to Leather Masters. They had their own unique designs and a great manufacturing department. Leather Masters was located in Dallas, Texas for over 15 years, specifically the Deep Ellum neighborhood. Due to the change of atmosphere in Deep Ellum, they moved to a new location.
Leather Masters opened a new space in Garland, Texas at the same time that Covid-19 was causing the closing of many retail businesses. Due to the Pandemic, Leather Masters was forced to cease retail and manufacturing operations. They closed for good in the summer of 2020 thus ending a 33 year successful run.
HISTORY OF EMCITY/LEATHER MASTERS KC
It was at about this same time that two men in Kansas City, Missouri, Clint and Stan were starting a new business called EmCity. They were able to purchase an existing business, Video Mania, and took possession on May 1st, 2020 while the city of Kansas City, Missouri was under a mandate by the mayor to have most retail businesses closed. This mandate was lifted and we opened as EmCity on May 9th, 2020.
Initially they planned to only carry and sell the remaining liquidated retail merchandise from the old Dallas locations. They left their first trip down with several patterns, a large portion of the merch and a few pieces of essential equipment from the shop. During the next 2 years they began “rebuilding” the old Leather Masters name, breathing fresh life into it again. The new merch began to sell, popularity began to rise and word began to spread across the nation of the work these 2 were doing.
We were fortunate to have made a lasting impression upon the community and were able to take over AS Leather Masters in the summer of 2022. Rebranding the old EmCity into Leather Masters. Now proudly located in Old Westport in Kansas City Missouri. We hold the values and legacy of the old incarnations of Leather Masters dear to our hearts. We are proud to take up the name and continue on providing Leather Masters products to the world, with our own unique improvements to the original patterns.