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About Us

In a town steeped in a rich history as a global leader in leather production, one name became synonymous with leather in Kitchener in the 1970s, and that was Roy Murakami.

Roy was born in Vancouver, the son of a commercial fisherman and farmer. He attended high school in Lethbridge, Alberta. After completing studies in tool and die, Roy worked his trade in Hamilton, and then moved to Kitchener in 1946. He was confined to Freeport Sanatorium with Tuberculosis for 3 years where he began leather crafting as a hobby.

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During his recuperation period he was hired by Jack Young (whom he met in Freeport) as the first employee at a newly formed leather products manufacturing company. Jack Young who later became the first Chairman of the region of Waterloo sold the company to fulfill political obligations. At that point, after 26 years of service and having risen to the company's Vice Presidency and General Manager, Roy left to see what he could do on his own.

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Roy combined his knowledge and expertise in tool and die with his skill as a leather artisan and craftsman in the formation of his new company. He launched Bench Craft Leather Inc. as a one man operation (with the part time help from his family) in June 1976. Roy found a ready market for expensive belts in the better specialty men's shops across Canada.

Today the belt line consists of over 100 different styles distributing through fine menswear retailers. In addition, Bench Craft manufactures a complete range of suspenders and distributes a full range of cufflinks.

Being established as a high quality Canadian leather products manufacturer for over 30 years now, Bench Craft has become government contractor of leather products for police, firemen, military and RCMP.

As the first tool pouch manufacturer in Canada, designing custom tool holders is another area of expertise at Bench Craft.

Bench Craft is also a custom manufacturer of corporate logo branded products and produces high quality Canadian made leather goods for fast delivery in the US and Canadian promotional industry.

Today, although there are no more leather tanneries left in Kitchener, Bench Craft Leather Inc. continues in the tradition of its founder, producing high quality belts and leather products from the finest leathers from around the world.

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Founder Roy Murakami
Aug 30 1925 - March 28 2009