Sole Survivor was founded in the '80s as a business in the Central West End where Steve and Kay produced the hand-made leather creations that reflected Steve’s artistic nature. The name was chosen to reflect Steve’s observation that there were very few leather workers left. He was truly becoming a sole survivor of his craft. During this time Steve began adding footwear to the store including a small but growing brand from Israel called “Naot”.
To continue to foster the growth of the business the store was relocated in 1999 next to the Pageant Theatre to become part of the Delmar/ U-City Loop. The store offered a growing array of belts, bags and caps all designed by Steve. Footwear grew to be an important part of the business and in addition to offering Israeli-made Naot, Steve began designing and making his own footwear.
During their time on Delmar Steve introduced his leather goods to the world online. The opportunity for growth brought an entirely new dimension to the relatively small business. Seeing growth for the Sole Survivor brand both domestically and abroad, the need to expand became clear.
In 2004 Steve and Kay purchased a three story building in historic Downtown Belleville, IL. The building housed a small retail boutique, shipping room, offices, and the leatherworks studio of Steve and his apprentices. Over the next several years the demand for quality footwear increased and along with it came a new opportunity.
On October 9th, 2010 Sole Survivor relocated to its current location at 25 East Main St. As a result of the relocation the metro east now has a choice for comfortable fashion forward footwear, and quality leather goods.
Today... Sole Survivor is a specialty footwear retailer offering quality European brands for both men and women. Steve continues to produce a distinct selection of handmade leather goods and footwear as well as offering a variety of accessories & gifts from around the world.