Company History

My enterprise which I have named and registered as a Sole Proprietorship is The McKenzie River Valley Market Company. I formed the company after leaving Portland in August 1995 at Blue River, Oregon. My enterprise is an expansion of a one-product line of leather goods designed by the founder, Daniel David Lewis Frommherz. The first pair was made by Mr. Frommherz in August 1989 with a very loose company organization set up in my home located in Portland, Oregon. All the products made up to 1995 were for friends who admired his original set.

Daniel basically copied his original design from a pair of suspenders made by his grandfather and has modernized that design into his products. He then markets and sells his products at local area festivals, mail order, road side rest areas and soon they will be introduced to customers on the Internet which will include a shopping cart.  This will allow his customers to create their own braces with variations still based on the original design. He will in the near future be interested in selecting franchised retailers with outlets where he would not create unfair competition against that market. The design has changed some but not much over the years since he started making copies of his grandfather's braces. The metal appointments on the hardware and functionally different designs for use by men, women and children have created the only visible difference. Daniel has created and plans to market a, "do it yourself kit", containing all the materials for each pair with instructions on assembly of his design.

Mr. Frommherz comes from a very long line of excellent leather workers dating back to the original expansion of our country even before the Revolutionary War with England. In Eleven generations the family built the barrels for tanning as Cordwainers. In several generations they sewed the leather into shoes and built the harness for the horses or oxen in moving west. In the Northeast generation upon generation expanded from Massachusetts in New England to the Hudson River Valley in New York. They were veterans of both the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812. The benefits gave them donation land claims first in New York then on to Ohio and eventually on land in Oregon. Once in Ohio they made shoes and Harness in preparation for the greatest migration on the Oregon Trail. In Oregon they tanned leather on Tanners Creek, which is now inner Southwest Portland at 21st and Burnside near the northwest corner of King's Hill. There the family created the first fashionable district for its citizens to call home then named it King's Hill. Mr. Frommherz' second great grand uncle made the statement "A Great City will be known for the quality of its parks", as he sold a portion of his original claim to the young city of Portland naming the area Washington Park.  Mr. Frommherz is a military veteran of both Vietnam and Desert Storm and Shield from February 1966 until January 1992.  While most of the family returned to King's Valley in Benton County where they remain today, investments by the King family there caused the United States National Bank of Oregon to begin operation. The first sheriff of Benton County comes from this family. Daniel’s second great grandfather Solomon King owned two livery stables. One was located where Gill Coliseum on the Oregon State University Campus now stands. It was from this Livery stable that harness and tack were made for the benefit of the citizens of Corvallis, Lewisburg, Wren, Philomath, Belfountain, Alsea, and Monroe. Buyers came from afar to purchase the best products made from such high quality leather.

It was in this employment that Daniel’s paternal grandfather worked as a young hired liveryman where his duties included hand polishing the wagons and carriages for rent and repair of tack used in the harness.  Additional employees may have also made their own braces however it appears that only one pair survived to the present day in his immediate family.  After he had cut the necessary materials for his livery harness work he used the leftover strap leather for creating those suspenders. His diary notes his private sales. He etched the sizing for his products on the hitching rails, ten pieces of leather each with a distinct function in lengths of ten inches up to twenty-five inches. This allowed individual sizes for a small child to an above average adult. These suspenders were built to last. At times a piece might fail for some odd reason by design it could be replaced with another section of matching leather strap.

Daniel’s paternal grandfather Adolph Joseph Frommherz bartered for the material to make his own pair of these suspenders from the King Livery Stable in Corvallis between 1897and 1903. He was not married at the time and he had just sworn his oath as a new citizen of this United States of America. He was just seven years on American soil, coming from the village of Egg, Grand Duchy of Baden, Germany.  He said to one of his three daughters years later that he knew quality when he saw it. Grandpa wore his pair of suspenders for nearly 50 years until his death in late November 1950. Seven years after he acquired those suspenders he married Lucy Adelia King the granddaughter of the owner to the livery stable.

Daniel saw those suspenders on his first meeting with his grandfather. He was 3 years old at the time and although the meeting was in his words "fuzzy" he remembers those suspenders and the kindly man distinctly in his many cherished memories. Daniel states that he heard about those braces and has a photograph of his grandfather wearing them while holding a grandchild as he sat rocking on the front porch of his home many times as a young man growing up in a tight knit family. "I knew that I wanted a similar pair for myself but I thought they had placed those suspenders on him when preparing his remains for the funeral. I have searched many years for a similar pair discovering that this type could not be found. I asked other family members about those suspenders thinking that maybe someone knew more. One day my persistent question resolved that age-old question. The daughter of my grandfather Adolph who cared for him in his final years told me one day in 1989; Aunt Florence Agnes (Frommherz) Gross had been a caregiver to her aged father for many years.  Why "I put them in pop's trunk" she said. Would you really want to see those old things they are out in the cellar with all the other discarded things this family no longer has any use for. With glee I found and opened the trunk to discover to my amazement those suspenders in very good condition. I tried them on hooking the mustache to my belt loops, as I didn't have buttons on my jeans. I asked to have them for myself and was given the pair immediately. I marked the design on wood as I was pressing for more information. I then upgraded to a finished product noting that with a size change here and there I could fit anyone. I believe the upgrade should last as long as the original pair if cared for properly."

Today, the McKenzie River Valley Market is located in Northwest Eugene, Oregon.  All of the leather is still cut by hand and marked using a template.  Braces remain our main staple are made in batches of three each day complete so that time is not lost in seven steps from cutting a side of leather into the straps to the final assembly.  Our braces are now dipped in Tan-Kote which keeps the dye from staining our customer’s shirts.  The new website set to go on line this year offers a customized look to our braces.  It will offer a design with Chrome over Brass or Solid Brass hardware, a selection of four different buckles, Three types of attachments to the trousers, three collection types for the back, and either a flat or a twisted (braid) for a finished look.  We have recently added Tabletop Water Fountains, all Leather Backpacks, Fanny Packs, and Dog Leashes in addition to our Braces.  Please see the pictures of our products that will give you our customer a better idea of just how resourceful we are at McKenzie River Valley Market now starting our seventeenth year in custom production.  As the owner of this company I pride myself in the fact that I have only raised my prices four times since those very first braces were designed and made.