Established in the early 1970’s as a favor to a fellow colleague in the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, Leather Specialties became the largest selection of leather hand guard accessories for wind instruments. In 1969, Larry was in need for a mouthpiece pouch; so, he went to Tandy’s Leather and made one for himself. Larry’s colleague, Charlie Matheson, wanted one as well and brought it by Renold Schilke of Schilke Music to show it off. Mr. Schilke called Larry immediately and ordered 150 pouches without taking no for an answer. Being the nice guy Larry is, he of course obliged.
Word spread quickly throughout the brass musician community and Larry quickly found himself backed-up with orders for his “hand guard”. His single car garage, in Austell, GA, was quickly becoming filled with tools, tables, materials, and sewing machines as his business formed. By the late 1970’s, Larry had formed Leather Specialties Company and his world famous Leather Specialties logo designed by Larry’s older brother, designer and engineer Gene Black.
Larry had moved his business to a two-car garage by 1980 in Smyrna, GA and, of course, quickly filled that out too. There he spent 23 years building out his range of hand guards from roughly 30 variants to a whopping 800+ variants by 2003. It was also this time his late wife, Rita, picked up the office manager role.
Larry retired from the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra in 2003. He and RIta picked up and moved out to the peaceful countryside in Brevard, NC. There we went big. The Leather Specialties shop expanded exponentially to a 4,200 sq foot building with workshop, trumpet studio, and office. For the next 17 years, Larry and Rita built out the Leather Specialties distribution across the world reaching from North America, Europe, Japan and the South Pacific.
December 15th, 2020 Rita passed leaving Larry and her two sons, Corey and Tom. With both sons intimately involved in the business since the early 1980’s, they have picked up the heavy responsibilities Rita had effortlessly been taking care of for over 35 years.