Nestled in the gently rolling hills near Sugar Tree Ridge are a pair of specialty shops that harken back to a simpler time when Native Americans roamed the countryside, and handcrafted leather items sustained the early settler.
Charles and Bonnie Nace bring the simpler times into today at Clyde’s Ridge Leather and Bonnie & Clyde’s Native American Trading Post, both located on Fair Ridge Road between Sugar Tree Ridge and Fairfax.
“The trading post building was built by our Amish friends,” Bonnie Nace said. “I have a lot of native American items, including a line of jewelry and furs, plus a line of hats, too.”
She said the things that she stocks in her shop embrace a native American theme, with everything from dreamcatchers to purses for women, and smaller, inexpensive items for children.
All of the unique jewelry in her shop comes from Albuquerque, N.M., and is handcrafted by the Navajo and Zuni tribes, she said.
The idea of locating the two stores at their home near Sugar Tree Ridge came from her husband, who was growing tired of hauling all the merchandise to large flea markets across the nation.
“We did flea markets for years and did shows all over the country, from Florida to Wisconsin, Michigan to Georgia,” he said. “You name the state and we were probably there.”
He said the thought of opening a business at home was borne out of necessity, partly because of a growing weariness in traveling from show to show and also due to health concerns.
About 20 years ago, Charles Nace was a silversmith, and he said after having increasing difficulty breathing, his doctor told him he had to make a choice between his career and his health.
“The doctor told me I had chronic lung disease,” he said. “I misunderstood it to be COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), but he said it was actually the more severe lung disease, and it was caused by all those years of inhaling the dust and fumes from silversmithing.”
He said gave up silversmithing and took his creative flair to leather crafting instead. Charles Nace filled his shop with handcrafted leather belts, gun holsters and more, all custom made and sewn by hand.
Clyde’s Ridge Leather and Bonnie and Clyde’s Native American Trading Post is located at 7063 Fair Ridge Rd., Hillsboro, and is open Thursday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Orders can be placed by calling 937-763-0369.
Reach Tim Colliver at 937-402-2571.