ABOUT DAVE: "The Belt Guy"

Backgammon was huge in the 70's. People would go out to the Greek Restaurants to drink wine, play backgammon, eat, then play some more. They even played on tables in the discos.

 

A friend of mine taught me to play using a makeshift cardboard board, but it was pretty flimsy. Using my self-taught leatherwork skills, I glued scraps of leather together to make a better board. I showed the board to John Poser of Good Stuff Games in the Granville Island Creekhouse. We shared a laugh over the home-made, multicoloured board.

 

Then I went home, created a better one that was competition size, put it in a garbage bag and tried selling it at night-clubs. I sold it for $150 to a man at Oil Can Harry's - one of the first nightclubs I tried.

After that, John began carrying my boards in his store and asked me to help make the largest backgammon board in the world. I did, and we put it in between the Public Market and the . It was about 40 feet x 60 feet.

Then John invited local radio stations to come down and play music. It was great publicity for his store. I sold more backgammon sets.

So I continued working in leather, and in 1986 I began selling leather belts on a table at Lonsdale Quay Market. Johanna from the Public Market saw my work and asked if I would be interested in a day vendor's table. After being juried and accepted, I gave up my table in the clean, new Lonsdale building to set up in the Public Market next to a guy with turnips and potatoes in gunny sacks on the floor. My God, I thought, is this going to work? But the market was packed elbow to elbow with people and, in the end, Granville Island was my saviour.

Over the years, I've met hundreds of talented people and artists. In 2000, I moved from the Market to a permanent workshop in Railspur Alley where I am now known as "the belt guy."

 

I make my belts out of one solid piece of bridle leather. I also use the best hardware I can find; so that my belts and purses can last a lifetime.

Its been rewarding both business-wise and socially to be a part of Granville Island.

Dave Hartman

© 2018 by Randi Ryborg & Dave Hartman.

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