River City Leather Inc. Growing Its Gallia County Operations

River City Leather Inc., in collaboration with JobsOhio, Ohio Southeast Economic Development (OhioSE), Gallia County Economic Development, and the University of Rio Grande and Rio Grande Community College, today announced it is investing $147,800 in its Gallipolis (Gallia County) facility.

Founded in 2011, River City Leather is a family-owned business that manufactures leather goods products such as purses and bags. Aaron found leather work as a hobby while recovering from a motorcycle accident but it quickly became more than that. Starting in a spare room, then a shed, a small studio, a garage workshop, a retail store with a workshop and shoe repair in Downtown Gallipolis, owners Aaron and Erin now work from a 5,000-square-foot manufacturing facility. Recently, the company has experienced growth in its private label manufacturing as well as its UV printing and laser services.

River City Leather has made products for Grammy Award-winning artists and major brands. River City Leather will invest in additional equipment to allow it to exponentially increase output. Additional equipment will allow the company to take on new business.

“With this grant, we are intending to replace outdated equipment and be able to further compete with overseas manufacturing. Automation, and the skilled labor to run it, are crucial to growing our abilities within the pet industry and other future opportunities with UV printing on coated webbing and leather. We are grateful to be able to invest locally,” said Aaron Buckley, President at River City Leather.

JobsOhio supported the project with a $50,000 JobsOhio Inclusion Grant and Ohio Southeast Economic Development assisted the company with the grant process. Gallia County Economic Development, in partnership with the University of Rio Grande and Community College, will assist River City Leather will attraction and training support as it looks to add new workers.

“We’re thrilled to help a homegrown company like River City Leather continue to grow and invest in Gallia County. Their success is a testament to their team’s creativity and entrepreneurial spirit, and it shows what small businesses can achieve in our community,” said Cole Massie, director of Economic Development and Center for Entrepreneurship at the University of Rio Grande and Rio Grande Community College. “This is yet another great example of the JobsOhio Inclusion Grant and OhioSE being tremendous assets to small businesses in Gallia County that are growing their operations.”

The JobsOhio Inclusion Grant exists to provide financial support for eligible projects in designated distressed communities and/or for businesses owned by underrepresented populations across the state. Eligibility requirements for the program can be found at Inclusion Grant | JobsOhio.

“Local companies like River City Leather demonstrate that entrepreneurship is alive and well in southeastern Ohio,” said OhioSE President Mike Jacoby. “We are glad to see River City Leather continue to expand its business in Gallia County through the JobsOhio Inclusion Grant. This grant program definitely has made a difference in our region.”

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Ohio Southeast Economic Development (OhioSE) is the JobsOhio Network Partner for southern, eastern, and southeastern Ohio, providing economic development work and resources in 25 rural counties; they are the newest and geographically the largest of the six regions across the state. OhioSE partners closely with regional development districts, local economic development offices, state agencies, and other entities to expand, retain, and attract businesses in the counties they serve.