POCATELLO — Hard Ride Leather in Pocatello has been closed since owner John “Jake” Gubler died from health complications on Feb. 10.
But Jake’s mother and former business partner, Kellie Gubler, plans to temporarily reopen the shop’s doors this weekend to sell some of the leather accessories he made and raise funds to help Jake’s wife and kids. She also wants to give community members one last chance to see the shop her son dreamed of running.
“(I want) everybody to come by and see his place. If anything, that would be the most important,” Kellie said. “That and showing support for his wife.”
The business, which is located at 928 N. Main St. in Pocatello, will be open this Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Jake, who went through two kidney transplants and was on dialysis awaiting a third, was only 36 years old when he died. He left behind a wife, Brittany, whom family members describe as Jake’s best friend and soulmate, his 1-year-old son, Bodie, and his two stepsons, Jayden, 10, and Dylan, 8.
“He was pretty young, (but he did the) things he wanted to do in this life,” Kellie said, adding that that included getting married, having a child and opening Hard Ride Leather.
Kellie says many people loved her son.
“He loved being with his friends and family and had a very generous heart and would help any stranger in need,” according to his obituary, which adds that he sometimes gave his leather creations to those who liked them even if they couldn’t afford to pay for them.
But Jake had a hard ride in his life. In fact, the business was named for him and everything he went through over the years, Kellie said.
He was just 6 years old when he had his first kidney transplant, according to his obituary. He went through his second at the age of 33.
Kellie says her son was tough and he kept going for as long as he could even though he struggled every day.
“Towards the end, Jake was blessed with a determination to fight his battle longer, because he so wanted to be here for Brittany and Bodie,” according to his obituary.
Kellie said Jake’s health complications made it difficult for him to work a regular job — that’s part of the reason why he wanted to open his own custom leather shop.
“It was something he felt like he could do on his time and his schedule,” Kellie said. “He enjoyed it.”
While Jake and his mom sold their leather accessories at events for years, they never had a physical store until Jake opened his shop last fall.
“It was a dream come true for the kid,” Kellie said.
They originally got the idea for the business after Jake made some memorial bracelets out of his late grandfather’s belt for family members. They made similar gifts for others who lost loved ones over the years, Kellie said.
Jake repaired things, sewed on patches and made and tooled custom leather pieces at his shop. And Kellie said he created some unique items.
“His ideas were different than everybody else’s,” Kellie said. “People don’t have that kind of stuff in their head that he did.”
She encourages community members to stop by the shop on Friday and Saturday to show their support for Jake’s family and to see some of his work. They will have leather bracelets, earrings and keychains for sale, she said, and the proceeds will be used to help Jake’s widow and children.
“I would like people to see what his dream was,” Kellie said.