Wednesday, August 1, 2012

The Colonel

A while back (a month, or more) I happened upon a product that I found surprising and impressive in many unexpected ways.  Allow me to explain....

Some years ago, I bought a BlackBerry Storm smartphone and purchased a holster that was designed for it.  Since that time I have been issued a couple of BlackBerry phones by my employer, and each was accompanied by a holster that I didn't much care for, so I had continued to use my old one for these last two phones.  But the belt clip began to stretch out and not remain secured, and I just got tired of it.

So on a Saturday morning my wife and I were out running errands and I told her that I wanted to visit Lexington's Orvis dealer, a very nice store called The Lexington Angler.  If you're not familiar, Orvis is a purveyor of various men's and women's clothing, luggage and other accessories, and their core products involve fishing and other outdoor living items.  Anyway, I suggested this store because I knew Orvis sells high quality and often unique items, and in we went.

Talked with a very nice man about a couple of items they had in stock and then I began to inquire about leather holsters for phones.  He showed ...me some items from Orvis' website and I spotted one in particular that seemed nice.  Lightly finished brown leather with a ball-stud closure and a design that allows the wearer to run his belt through the rear of the case, ensuring that it won't come off.  Plus, the sales associate told me that they could order it for me, and add my initials, with no additional cost or any obligation to purchase the item if for any reason I didn't find it to my liking.  And I wasn't even asked to pay for it in advance.

As an astute reader, you're wondering what this has to do with a Colonel.  Bear with me.

I got a call that my new leather phone holster had arrived, and it was VERY nice indeed.  My wife went with me and we even size-tested it for an iPhone, which I hope to acquire sometime down the road.  Really impressive.

Then I began to look at this a little more closely, and I noticed some embossed wording on the reverse side of the case.  My new phone holster is actually the "Col. Littleton No. 48 Phone Holster."  Who, you may ask, is Col. Littleton?  I wondered the same thing, so I read some of the literature that came with the carton.  Turns out that Col. Littleton is a person but also the name of a company that started out making custom high-end cuff links and one-of-a-kind pocket knives, but they gradually moved into making high-quality leather goods like phone holsters, wallets, portfolios, briefcases and other related items.

The clever verbage in the inside literature reminded me of a more down-to-earth J. Peterman (not the guy on "Seinfeld," but the real merchant with the exotic product descriptions), describing the product but also how it should make the user FEEL.

Interesting.

They're based in Lynnville, Tennessee, a few miles south of Nashville, just off I-65.

So, needless to say, I was quite pleased with my new case, and enjoyed my first week or two of usage. Then my wife mentioned having seen a really unique-looking iPad case in one of the magazines to which she subscribes (I think it was part of a feature concerning Dad-and-grad gift ideas) and, lo and behold, it was also a Colonel Littleton creation.  I did a little research and found that it's called the No. 5 Pocket for iPad.

Back I went to the Lexington Angler to ask them to order this item for me as well.  I liked the idea of spending that money with a local merchant, yet still getting the quality product that I wanted.  My new iPad case arrived in just a couple of days, and it's another astounding product!   I took it on my last couple of trips and it's with me on my current business journey as well.

Now that the genie is out of the bottle, so to speak, I'm really interested in one of their briefcases or something equally substantial.  Great workmanship, American-made and products with a lot of character, too!  Check them out online or on YouTube (wonderful product descriptions with ample humor and a great sense of fun).




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