I was looking for a new wallet recently and a friend recommended I check out Mercy Supply in Grand Rapids, Michigan. People know that I dig hand made artisan stuff that’s built well. And when I buy something I want it to last a long time. I checked out their website and was greeted with a video that got my heart rate pumping. The video opens with rock music and an old urban factory with owner Rusty Zylstra unrolling 24 oz canvas, using old sewing machines, and manually working a copper rivet machine that is straight out of the industrial revolution. The riveter itself is as artistic as it is iconic. And then someone kickstarts a gnarly chopper and I’m like “Oh heck yeah. I have to have something from these dudes.”
For several years Rusty backpacked the United States taking in the scenery and gathering inspiration. He landed on Grand Rapids and set up shop in the industrial district. He says “Yeah, I’ve got a beard. Mostly because I’m low maintenance. I grow my hair out for the same reason.” Simplicity and straightforwardness describes him to a tee. “I started this business by trial and error because I wanted goods that would last. Typically there are only about three of us in the shop.”
I landed on a wallet and didn’t look back. The Trucker Wallet ($140) is offered in black, brown, oxblood and natural. Being a man of the beard, I went natural. The veg tan wallet will age and darken over time to give it a cool patina. It has solid brass hardware with a hand hammered solid copper rivet and raw copper snap. I like that the strap hooks to my belt loop. It has two bill pockets and four credit card slots. Not into the bigger wallet? Mercy has a classic Bifold Wallet that’s sharp as well.