What began as Hamilton’s Tandy Leathercraft, a company operated since 1919, transformed into Tundra Leather in 1990 under the direction of Peter Grove. Leather was his passion.
Peter Grove had his first taste of leathermaking when he was 11 years old, in a Board of Education sponsored summer skills program. This was the first spark of a flame: his love for leather-crafting.
At age 14 he found himself selling doughnuts and tv guides door-to-door, using the proceeds to purchase leather-crafting tools and supplies. From there, he began making his own catalogue of products for sale, cutting out products from the Tandy catalogue and pasting them into his own book. Customers would place orders and Peter would deliver the goods the following week. Hamilton couldn’t get enough of his leather goods, and Grove made enough to begin classes at Tandy leather – through the years moving from student to teacher, and eventually, manager of the Hamilton Tandy.
Grove had the opportunity to purchase the Hamilton store in 1990, at which time he changed the name to Tundra Leather. In 1995 he hired his first full-time employee, Sean Dalgetty.
In 2014, the passionate Peter Grove was diagnosed with a Glioblastoma brain tumor and Grove passed away in 2015.
His daughter Kristi Grove could not see the business her father had put his life’s work into close down. She quit her job as Finance Assistant at McMaster University and took the reins at the shop.
She began helping with all the ordering/pricing, paperwork, bookkeeping, cleaning, packing/shipping and everything that goes into running a business. These days, Kristi and original full-time employee Sean work together to keep the shop running at a quality that her father would be proud of, forever a mainstay of the Hamilton community.
The small shop on King Street East is jam-packed floor to ceiling with everything to do with leather. From leather supplies and hardware to books, patterns, and tools; any aspiring or expert leatherworker is sure to find what they’re looking for.
Not only do they offer all of this, they also do many workshops at their Hamilton International Village location; such as make-your-own clutch purses, belts, card wallets, journals, and leather working skills classes. Workshops are a few hours each, are run by either Sean or Kristi, and make a fun and creative night out with friends. Their workshop schedule can be found here.
The Tundra team has also recently expanded to include a section in their store of pre-made items like duffel bags, luggage tags and makeup cases, which are perfect for the upcoming Holidays. If you’re looking for something specific, place your orders for this soon as they only have so much manpower to go around!
When asked about the future of Tundra Leather, Kristi says “If someone had asked me this question in 2015, I would have said I had no idea, but since then, I’ve realized that we just needed more help. We have hired one part time person, which has been an amazing help. He’s able to do leatherwork, so helps us keep our shelves full.”
Kristi now has big plans for the future. She says “That being said, my goals are to continue to offer helpful and fun classes, and spend more time on the website to help facilitate online ordering. I would like to streamline the shipping process and allow our leatherwork to be more easily accessed.”
“My Dad would be so happy with how his business is growing.”
We look forward to seeing her plans come to fruition.
313 King Street East, Hamilton, ON
Monday to Thursday – 9am to 5:30pm
Friday – 9am to 9pm
Saturday – 9am to 5pm
Sunday – CLOSED