Local Boot Maker Has Been Center Stage Before, But Not Like This
POSTED: Thursday, June 16, 2011 - 7:12pm
UPDATED: Friday, June 17, 2011 - 10:07am
EL PASO - If you've seen the latest installment of Pirates of the Caribbean, you may have seen an El Paso gem without even realizing it.
"I didn't necessarily want to be a boot maker, but it's such a wonderful thing to have and it's a gift," said Joey Sanchez, owner of CABoots in central El Paso.
While he may not have planned it, Joey Sanchez is a fourth-generation boot maker. With a love for the craft - and rock and roll - his adventures in boot making began in the 80s, when heavy metal reigned supreme and rock stars were gods.
"The scorpions came to town, and my dad said, 'Let's go see the scorpions, they'll buy boots, and I thought, 'Yea, right,'" Joey said.
But Joey and his wife Priscilla's business was stung with success after their popularity among the Scorpions.
"From that moment on we were in the black book of every rock band that came to El Paso, I mean every single one would call us, like, 'hey mate, we want to buy some boots, can you come on down,' and it was for years, we did that for a decade," he said.
On the heels of the head banger's hay day, Joey had a tough time selling his unique footwear. But he was soon stung by another streak of success, which kept him on his toes.
"So we put them on EBay, and these boots that I couldn't sell for $50 over here all of a sudden I was selling for $100 on EBay," he said.
He was back on the saddle, making boots for all kinds of big names and productions. Because of these shows, Joey had stitched a relationship with Disney. So after the first Pirates of the Caribbean movie came out, it was only a matter of time before Jack Sparrow walked the plank - in Joey's boots.
"The wardrobe guy from Disney calls me and he goes, 'hey mate, I see that you're making the Jack Sparrow boots, and we find it quite cheeky that you call them Jack Sparrow, but they look better than the boots we're getting right now, can you send me a sample?'" Joey said.
Joey and his loyal buccaneers made 250 pairs in 7 weeks. Fast forward to the fourth movie and you can see Joey's boots in nearly every scene of the famous flick.
So what's it take to be successful in his day job?
"Persistence, I think, because it's so, there's times where you're like...'Yea!'" he said. "And times where you're like, 'Why am I here?'"
This kid at heart still takes his business seriously.His employees have been with his family for generations, and Joey now has customers in Germany, Russia, you name it.
"We bring money from all over the world to El Paso, and it stays here because we buy materials locally and all our employees are local," Joey said.
So if you can't drag yourself to the theater to see CABoots' pride and joy this summer, Joey has another favor to ask.
"Make your children wear boots!" he jokes.
You can own a pair of your very own Jack Sparrow boots; they'll run you about $300.
To find out how you can snatch a pair, go to www.caboots.com or visit them at 2100 Wyoming.