- Corporate body
The Sackville Harness Shop was founded in 1919 by Aretus C. Anderson, Albert Anderson, J. L. Dixon, Frank W. Fullerton, Clarence Griffin, and William W. Ward. However, according to an interview from Rural Heritage magazine in 2000, a long-time employee Paul Blakeny noted that his father, Arthur Blakeny was also one of the founders of the Harness Shop. Arthur and several others were employees of the old A. E. Wry Standard (another harness manufacturer), and Paul said that they were not satisfied with their conditions so they went on strike, and left to start the Sackville Harness Shop in 1919. The building that housed the shop from 1920 onwards was built in Sackville, New Brunswick by Samuel Freeze Black (1806-1880), the uncle of the prominent Sackville merchant Joseph L. Black, in 1846. After the founding owners, the Harness shop was owned by the Estabrooks brothers Bob, Bonar, Louis, and Bill and there were six employees. Bill Long began working at the shop in 1978 (after being laid off from a job at Moloney Electric). Bill Long was hired as a collar maker in 1978. He trained under the master craftsman/collar-maker, Jack McKenzie, who himself trained under one of the founders, Clarence Griffin. Long purchased the business in 1991 and retired in May 2021, ending approximately 30 years of ownership and 101 years of the business operation. The Harness Shop was well-known for their handcrafted leather harnesses and their handmade straw collars (which was one of the Harness Shop’s signature products). The shop had expanded into other areas, including making belts, bags, and jingle bell straps, as well as selling other leather goods and horse care products. At the time of the shop’s closure (and for many years prior), the Sackville Harness Shop was the only manufacturer of handmade straw collars in North America and of hand-made horse tack. The shop also had some notable customers over the years, including making a 34 inch collar for the world’s (allegedly) biggest and heaviest horse in Washington state; collars for the Budweiser Brewery Clydesdales team in St. Louis Missouri, USA; and collars for the Carlsberg Brewery Belgians Team in Toronto, Ontario.