Though Joe considers himself and his son Joey the fifth and sixth generation of bootmakers in the family, his research has shown that his family's work stretches all the way back to the 1600s when his colonist relatives practiced the trade.
In this day and age, finding a business that has stayed in the family and aims to provide the best possible personal service is hard to come by, but the Patrickus family is determined to do “business the old-fashioned way.”
JP’s Custom Handmade Boots, located on the square in Camdenton, has been connecting with and serving the area for nearly 40 years. With such impressive final products coming out of the boot shop, it may be hard to believe that JP’s is family-run and full-service, but it is, and owner Joey Patrickus wouldn’t have it any other way.
Father-and-son duo Joe Patrickus, Jr., and Joey Patrickus, III, have been repairing and custom-creating boots in Camdenton since 1978. Though Joe considers himself and his son Joey the fifth and sixth generation of bootmakers in the family, his research has shown that his family’s work stretches all the way back to the 1600s when his colonist relatives practiced the trade.
So, after years of working for companies like Motorola as an electrical engineer, Joe decided to move to Missouri and transfer the skills he’d learned as an engineer into the boot-making trade. His uncle, who lived in Sacramento, Calif., at the time, tried to convince Joe to move out West with him, but Joe knew his place was in the Midwest.
Determined to be with Joe and help him learn the generational boot-making trade, Joe’s uncle hopped on a bus and relocated to Missouri in 1978. Joe’s uncle had worked repairing military boots during the war and was ready to pass his skills and knowledge along to Joe.
While Joe had the “technical skills” that he’d learned as an engineer, his uncle had the “fundamental knowledge” of the trade. Together, they opened JP’s and began providing their service to the area. When Joe’s son, Joey, came of age, he joined his father and began learning the ways of the trade as well.
The two have co-operated the shop ever since; after Joe’s formal retirement in 2010, Joey and his wife took over as chief owners/operators, though Joe still spends time in the shop helping when needed.
The boots that JP’s creates are true works of art and cannot be summed up with a single description. Each boot that JP’s creates is highly unique and means something special to the customer.
Of course, when customers come in to the shop wanting a pair of boots, they can flip through the hundreds of photos of boots custom-made for previous happy customers, but, ultimately, it takes a consultation with Joey to decide exactly what the boot will be.
Customers with a specific design in mind are welcome to submit their order online, but Joey says that “98 percent of our customers don’t know what they want” and are better off coming into the shop for a consultation.
Once a design is chosen, Joey gets to work on creating the boot. He says that a basic boot takes around 40 hours to finish but that some boots, depending on the complexity of the design, can take anywhere from 150 to 200 hours to complete.
By creating the boot start to finish, bottom to top in their shop, it allows Joey to give his customers personalized boots that will meet all of their expectations. JP’s uses no man-made products for the boots; instead, the shop orders natural hides from ostriches, elephants, alligators from around the world.
Materials like these help make high-end boots that will outshine and outlast competitors who use imitation materials.
A look at JP’s “Better-Known Clients” tab on their website will show just a handful of some of the well-known clients that the family has serviced in the past, including Arnold Schwarzenegger, Roy Rogers, former San Francisco 49ers defensive end Justin Smith, Egyptian businessman Mohamed Al-Fayed, and country music legend Sammy Kershaw.
Joey often doesn’t know how these well-known clients find the shop – sometimes they’re driving by and just happen to stop in, sometimes they call in an order from halfway across the country – but he doesn’t treat these clients any differently than his local ones.
To him, “every client is famous, but some are just more well-known than others.” This excellent and highly personal customer service is part of what keeps customers coming back year after year.
At JP’s, you’re not talking to a machine or a random representative – you’re talking to professionals in the business who want to let you know just what your hard-earned money is going toward and deliver a final product that will last for years to come.
JP’s services the immediate area most commonly but gladly accepts commissions from customers worldwide. In addition to providing a service to their customers, JP’s has participated the University of Missouri’s (Mizzou) “Traditional Arts Apprenticeship” program for over 30 years.
In this program, Mizzou students enroll in a course and travel to the shop to learn and work as an apprentice. Joey and his father teach these students the trade in the hopes that they’ll be passionate about their work and stick with it, but they admit that it’s not for everyone.
“Some people have previous knowledge and skills that easily translate into this trade,” Joe says, “but others have no experience and find it hard to stick with.” This commitment to teaching the impressive trade to future generations is inspiring, and Joey hopes to be able to pass along his knowledge of the trade to his own future generations to continue the family business.