A couple moved from New York to bring custom holster business to Oak Ridge. Dragon Leatherworks specializes in custom holsters.
A man recognized a need and filled it. Then he took what started as a one time project all the way to prime time.
Dennis Badurina's business began out of necessity.
"Couldn't find a holster that fit me properly that I liked. Either it was too expensive of it was made out of plastic, something cheap, and I wanted leather," he said.
He figured he could make a leather holster for himself.
"If I needed to see how to do something I would find it on YouTube but I just took my general knowledge of woodworking and applied it to leatherworking," he explained.
He wore his hand made holster and people noticed it.
"A friend of mine saw it and said that's a pretty nice design. Make me one? Sure. He showed a friend in the fire department up in New York and that friend wanted one and the next thing you know I'm getting people dropping me emails and calling the cell phone and saying hey you made this holster for so and so can you make me one like it?"
Dennis and his wife Rebecca moved from New York to Oak Ridge because it seemed like a better fit for their growing business: Dragon Leatherworks.
"That's why we came down here because this is known for a very vibrant shooting community in East Tennessee," he said.
He expanded his workmanship beyond leather to include exotic skins like python and alligator. Gun bloggers started reviewing his holsters online. One thing led to another and he connected with prop masters including one for the TV show NCIS. That prop master ended up ordering several custom holsters for that show and a spin off set in New Orleans.
"New Orleans is surrounded by swamps and alligators so he said can you do something with alligator? No I can do something with crocodile I've got that skin in stock. Great. Make two. Nice medium brown color. Get me out to me. We need them in three days," he said.
He's working with a prop master right now who he's worked with before on a top secret movie project.
"I can't really say anything else except we have run the gamut of making holsters, making knife sheaths, and now we're making mittens out of leather," he said with a smile.
Not bad for a guy who just wanted a high quality holster for himself.