By Morgan Bryce
Associate Editor

The Opelika-based leather goods maker Loyal Stricklin is relocating to Nashville.
Michael Stricklin, Loyal Stricklin founder and owner, said it was a difficult decision to make, but necessary to grow his business.
“We’ve been established for four or five years now … and we already have a lot of people, fans and customers that are up there. We’ve had a great response from everybody, including here, about our move,” Michael said. “Another big thing is that Nashville is such an easy place to visit, and given the amount of people that stop by, I think we’re going to be a stop-off point. It’s a lot easier to become that in a bigger city like Nashville.”
Originally from Homewood, Michael discovered his penchant for leather making during his college days at Auburn.
As demand increased, he began selling his products on Etsy, an artisan/maker website and named the business in honor of his grandfather, Loyal Ellis Stricklin.
In February 2015, Michael began renting a space in the heart of the historic Cotton Warehouse District, which runs along North Railroad Avenue.
Specializing in wallets, backpacks, purses and aviator mugs, Michael said the business has grown to have an international presence, with customers as far away as Europe and southeastern Asia.
Michael said their new space will be smaller, but will serve as the company’s workshop and physical storefront.
He added that they will also begin offering leather-making courses for those wanting to acquire a new skill or find a hobby.
Leaving Opelika will be hard for the Stricklins, but Michael said he is forever grateful for the town that has served as his foundation for the last three years.
“Me and Sarah and our team are immensely thankful for everyone in the community, and everyone that’s helped us along the way. This move is truly bittersweet for us,” Michael said. “This is where Sarah and I met and fell in love, got married and lived for the past three years. The opportunity was here for me and my business to grow and we’re just taking that, seizing that next opportunity to grow … and this is the time and place to do it.”
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