Ted Yost wrote:
It's important for all of us to remember that Alessi Holsters is a family business, and one that we all should continue to support. There will never be another like Lou Alessi, but those who he's entrusted with his skill and passion deserve the loyalty, and the opportunity to continue the legacy.
We miss you Lou.
Amen to that. The last time I was in the shop, I stopped by with my 7 year old daughter. Lou was showing me some holsters Alexandra started cutting and sewing. That was one proud Poppa. It may just be genetic. Lou's father in law used to make holsters in the shop too. She just may have the genetic angle covered from both sides of the family. I wish his family and Lou's employees all the best in their future endeavors.
As Ted said, it was a family business. Business there wasn't business. It was personal with customers treated like family. Case in point, the first order I got directly from there has a funny story behind it. I got the call from Lou that it was done. Like a little kid, I raced to the shop and in my haste left my wallet on the kitchen counter. It was no small order: a couple holsters, a belt and a mag pouch or two. Lou said try it on and made sure everything was perfect. I was wearing a very old DOJ I had found in a Buffalo gun store that was a federal contract overrun back in the good old days. That was my first holster for a 1911. It was about a decade and a half or so old and kept in pristine condition (the man could build them and even improve on perfection) with the old style back. We BS'd a while about that holster, guns, and life. When it was time to settle up, we realized I left my wallet home. Lou tells me to take them and pay him another day. He really didn't know me from Adam at that point. When do you hear about people letting you walk out the door with a few hundred bucks of merchandise with a pay me later?
As much of a genius as the man was with leather, I always thought of the place as being in the people business. I will always cherish the time I spent in that little shop talking with Lou. As some said it started with leather being the prize, but I ended up getting much more out of talking to the man. He was a prince among men, with the biggest heart I have ever seen, a twinkle in his eye and an impish grin. I will miss him.
I will surely continue to patronize the shop. I just hope that when I stop by the shop next I can do it without crying like a baby, but I make no guarantees.
We didn't lose the last of his kind...we lost the only one of his kind. My condolences to his family and friends.