From: Jennifer Hanson, thenorthbaybay.ca staff
NORTH BAY — “The Leather Trend,” a staple of Main St., is about to get a face lift.
The storefront property officially closed in the summer of 2017, after then owner Rob Szalas was charged with trafficking Oxycodone pills and possession of property obtained by crime.
But new owner Sal Brazos says the store’s shady history is a thing of the past.
“I don’t care about that,” says Brazos. “I only have one big passion in life, and that passion is pleather.”
“Pleather” is a plastic fabric made to look like leather, usually by bonding a thin layer of plastic to a fabric backing. It is often used in furniture to make inexpensive “faux leather” couches and chairs, but has also been adopted by the fashion industry.
“It makes wonderful leggings and dresses for women,” says Brazos. “And great coats and pants for men. Very chic, very fashionable, very in.”
“It also makes neat dog collars, like the one on my dog friend Jandu.”
Brazos points to a bullmastiff which rests by The Pleather Trend’s storefront.
“He loves people like I love people. I asked around, and nobody important has said I can’t have him here, so Jandu is the official dog of The Pleather Trend! He will be here to greet customers and sometimes guard the backdoor.”
Forget the “store’s bad past”
Brazos says he hopes North Bay will adopt pleather like he has, and will forget all about “this store’s bad past.”
“It’s a new store with a new owner and a new product, and everything will be different!”
“It’ll just be me, Sal Brazos, and my big dog Jandu, selling coats and dresses and sometimes maybe some suits if I get some.”
“Also, if you come by sometime and see a sign saying ‘Be back in 5,’ just yell. I’m probably in the basement doing perfectly normal business stuff.”
Brazos expects the store to open mid-October, finances depending.
“I just need to sell a few dozen small things first to free up some cash and then we’ll be set.”
“So get ready North Bay, because if you liked ‘The Leather Trend’ then you’re going to love ‘The Pleather Trend!'”
Brazos breaks into a big smile before patting Jandu’s head.
“But just a heads up – no sudden movements around Jandu here. Sometimes he gets jumpy.”