Featured Vendor: Paul Opperman

Meet Paul Opperman who is regularly found sharpening knives and scissors at Dubuque Winter Farmers’ Market. After getting degrees in mechanical engineering and working at several large corporations in Northern California, Paul decided that working for himself would be a better fit. He steadily built his skills as a boot maker through study, a 6 month apprenticeship, more intense study, finally classes with master boot makers Lisa Sorrell and Paul Krause. During this transition, he “retired” to Dubuque with his “sole-mate” Paula in a return to their home state.

Over the years, the footwear Paul has been crafting has evolved from simple sandals and moccasins into beautifully decorative shoes and western boots. His boots are works of art, and they have appeared in shows across the country. This year they are featured in a show Pittsfield, Mass.

Customers order boots directly from Paul at market, or contact him by phone or email, paulopperman@hotmail.com. Visit his website www.paulsboots.com to see photos of his gorgeous boots and the boot making process. There, you will understand the final turn in his path, clarifying how this boot maker would also be the one to sharpen your knives and scissors. Paul’s own blades must be kept extremely sharp in order to make precision cuts on leather. So, he has the sharpeners. And, because Paul and Paula have been principal organizers and managers of winter farmers’ market since its inception, he is already there to set up and take down the tables.

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