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Shopkeeper, Boot Maker A 'Jill Of All Trades'

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When Keg Creek Boot and Saddle closes its doors later this year, it will mark the first time in at least 100 years Glenwood residents won’t have a local place to go for shoe repairs.

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Vickie Felos has owned and operated the unique business since purchasing it from Dan Elizondo in 1986. Originally housed in a building on the 500 block of Sharp Street, Keg Creek Boot and Saddle has been at its current location at 411 Sharp St. since 1992.

“This is the old Coatney’s clothing store building,” Felos said. “Rex (Coatney) told me this is the oldest building in town. It dates back to 1874.”

Today, 27 years after Felos took over the business, Keg Creek Boot and Saddle is a shoe repair shop and more. Much more.

Keg Creek is a place you can go to buy a pair of cowboy boots or equestrian supplies or find a toy for your child or grandchild to horse around with.

There’s also the sewing aspect of the business. From custom boot-making and saddle repairs to wedding gowns, Felos and her sister, April Gillespie, have done it all.

“We’ve done everything from boat covers to trampolines,” Felos said. “One time, I had to make a dummy for Kiewit to throw out of an airplane. We’ve worked on reindeer for Christmas displays and April’s even done a wedding dress.
“It’s been fun to have such a variety of things to work with.”

In 2001, Felos spent two weeks at a school in Utah where she learned the craft of custom boot making.
“It was an intensive two-week course,” she said.

Boot making and restoration is probably the aspect of the business Felos enjoys the most.

“I haven’t had that much time to fool with the boot making here because I just have too many jobs to do,” Felos said. “I’m kind of the Jill of all trades.

“We’ve worked on several types of boots, even some from a period when they didn’t even sew soles on them. I had to do hand-sewing from inside the boot.  Right now, I have two pair of Civil War boots in here to finish up and a few saddles.”

The sewing, repair and restoration work at Felos’ store is performed on machinery that’s 100 years old, including a 1914 Singer sewing machine. Some of the machines are so heavy, they had to be moved with a forklift.

“Most of my machines are antiques,” Felos said. “These machines have been in this town since the early 1900s.”
Felos said she’ll close the store once the majority of her inventory has been liquidated. Until then, her regular customers will continue to stock up on boots and other products that won’t be available in Glenwood after the store is gone.

Once the store is closed, Felos plans to catch her breath before doing some custom boot making and saddle work from her home.

“I think I’m just going to do some saddle repair and the custom boot making,” she said. “That’s what I’m planning on right now, but it may be awhile before I get started. I think we’ll want to take a little break after we go through all of this.”