Owner Lacey Coragiulo works on alternating a leather vest at Quil Ceda Leather, a store in Marysville that sells handcrafted and custom leather goods, as well as supplies and tools. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)

Owner Lacey Coragiulo works on alternating a leather vest at Quil Ceda Leather, a store in Marysville that sells handcrafted and custom leather goods, as well as supplies and tools. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)

A 90-year-old leather business thrives in the 21st century

More than once, Quil Ceda Leather employees have become the owners of a durable enterprise.

MARYSVILLE — In 2002, Lacey Coragiulo, a recent high school graduate, needed a job, any job.

“College did not work out for me. I tried a semester and it was not for me,” recalled Coragiulo, who attended Marysville Pilchuck High School.

On a reader board outside Quil Ceda Leather in Marysville, she saw an ad for someone to cut out patterns and ring up sales.

“I’d never worked with leather before,” Coragiulo said.

Still, she applied for the job.

Coragiulo today owns the business and is a whiz at sewing custom leather gas tank covers and saddlebags for motorcycle enthusiasts.

Coragiulo purchased the now nearly 90-year-old business in 2017 and moved the store to its current and original site, 1355 State Ave. in downtown Marysville.

“We’ve come full circle,” Coragiulo said.

Quil Ceda Leather sells handmade leather belts, pouches, purses, sheepskin slippers and leather and suede clothing, designed by local artisans.

Owner Lacey Coragiulo sorts raw belt leathers at Quil Ceda Leather in Marysville. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)

Owner Lacey Coragiulo sorts raw belt leathers at Quil Ceda Leather in Marysville. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)

For the do-it-yourselfer, the store stocks leather hides — elk, sheepskin, cowhide and rawhide to make your own wallets, moccasins or drum covers. Leather crafters can find shelves filled with tools, patterns, kits and how-to books.

Need help putting your creation together? Call or stop by the store, and Coragiulo or Jody Sears, who’s worked there since 2006, can help.

Like Coragiulo, Sears had never worked with leather before she was hired. “I learned everything from Lacey,” Sears said.

The store also carries dried sage, beads made from bone and deer toes that are used to make Native American clothing and other items.

Oh, and the cute deerskin baby shoes and booties? Coragiulo’s mom, Diana Hendrix, makes them and helps out at the store every other Saturday.

“Vader,” of the Bikers Against Child Abuse group, discovered the store a few years ago. Members of the anonymous nonprofit recommended Coragiulo and her store after she designed a leather heat shield that protects legs and limbs against the skin-searing temperatures that blast from a motorcycle’s exhaust, said Vader, who asked to be identified only by his road name.

“She’s sewn on all of my patches,” said Vader, who rides a 900-pound Electro Glide Harley Davidson. “Anytime anybody needs leather work, I tell them to come here.”

Scrap leather pieces for sale at Quil Ceda Leather in Marysville. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)

Scrap leather pieces for sale at Quil Ceda Leather in Marysville. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)

Two years ago, Quil Ceda Leather added custom embroidery to its menu. Customers can hear the 60-inch tall machine clatter and whir at work in back room. This particular morning, the programmable embroidery machine was stitching a large, multi-colored patch for an area motorcycle club.

The service has also found favor with local businesses that want the company’s name or logo embroidered on hats or hoodies, Coragiulo said.

Quil Ceda Leather was founded as a tannery in 1932 by Mathias Jansha, an Austrian immigrant. He called the Marysville business Jansha Tanning Co., the eponymous name it kept until a group of employees bought a share of the retail portion of the business in the early 198os and rechristened it Quil Ceda Leather.

Around the same time, they moved the retail store from its original location at 1355 State Ave. in Marysville to a shop on 88th Street Northeast in Arlington. (The tannery closed in 2010.)

In 2004, the group of employee-owners called it quits, leaving Coragiulo to run the store alone.

“The majority owner came to me and said, ‘Do you think you can make this work or should we shut it down?’” Coragiulo said.

She had watched the shop seamstress make alterations to leather vests and clothing, shorten sleeves and set zippers.

Baby leather moccasins for sale at Quil Ceda Leather in Marysville. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)

Baby leather moccasins for sale at Quil Ceda Leather in Marysville. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)

But Coragiulo had never worked on an industrial sewing machine and “never worked without a pattern,” she said. Still, she gave it a go.

“I started experimenting. I sewed patches on vests for motorcycle riders. I started making little bags for the shop,” she said.

“Now, I rarely go off a pattern. People will bring me a picture of something and ask if I can replicate it.”

The answer is usually yes, she said.

She also learned business essentials, including bookkeeping and inventory management.

In 2017, the store’s third-generation owner asked Coragiulo if she would like to take over and buy the business.

“And so I did,” she said.

“Mike Warden, he was the third generation owner. He would always push me and say: ‘Try this,’” Coragiulo said. “Without him I would not be doing this, and it’s the last thing I ever expected to be doing!”

Janice Podsada; jpodsada@heraldnet.com; 425-339-3097 ; Twitter: @JanicePods.

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