NOCONA, TX (KAUZ) - Nocona boots can once again be bought in Nocona. Even though the factory off Highway 82 closed in 1999. Craig Carter And Leigha Morgan are bringing it back to life.
They didn't originally buy the building to sell the boots.
"We really wanted to bring redemption back to these people and bring redemption back to the Nocona boots brand and so you know we started that venture," Morgan said.
They moved to Nocona last September to expand their lighting and sound business, Church AV Installers.
"We decided that we wanted to go in a different direction and we wanted to expand the business so we were looking for a large space," Morgan said.
They provided new sound and lightning for 300 plus rooms and sanctuaries. Now they have added light back into the factory building off Highway 82.
They quickly learned this was where the famous Nocona boots were made. After Justin Boots moved the Fort Worth, Ms. Enid Justin started Nocona Boots. When she died the brand was back under Justin and the company decided to move the factory.
"There's a lot of, you know people, being upset about the factory closing and outsourcing," Morgan said.
Losing the boot factory was not easy on Nocona. If given the opportunity Morgan said they would make boots here again.
"We would love the opportunity to partner with Justin and have that here. I know a lot of the town would be very receptive to that."
After learning the history, and about Ms. Enid Justin, Morgan said they wanted to make sure they honor her legacy and the charitable things she did for the community. Morgan and Carter both felt there was a greater purpose for their move to Nocona.
"At the same time we also knew in our hearts that God had called us to do a food bank and an outreach center," Morgan said.
The factory had plenty of space to do it all. They have a stage set up to showcase Church AV Installers. The stage can also be used for community events.
They added a car resale and consignment shop for cars, trucks, tractors, and ATVs. They are building a brewery and restaurant in the front left corner, and behind that sits the food bank.
"We did a lot of research coming into the area and filling that were supposed to do some sort of outreach ministry. We realized that 25% of just Nocona was under the poverty line," Morgan said.
Every Saturday from 9 a.m. to Noon anyone can stop by and pick up whatever they may need, food, clothing, furniture and even toys if they have it.
"It's been a really big blessing to a lot of poverty in this area," Carter said.
They hope to continue blessing people by improving the shop every day. A wheelchair ramp has been added to the side of the building.
They hope the city will help them repave the street that leads to the parking area. Another addition they look forward to is providing counseling and a safe place for teens to come and work on career skills.
"It's not just about handing out food it's about connecting with people and reaching out to them and so that's really really great to see," Morgan said.
Every weekend they look for volunteers and donors to help in the food bank. Any money spent on boots, lightning, cars, and eventually the brewery all helps fund the food bank.
A venture that started as a need for larger space has turned into so much more, bringing a new hope to a landmark known across Texas.
"You can't build a kingdom on one person's effort and it's really neat to see everybody coming together," Morgan said. "We're essentially all helping each other and building a foundation for growth. We're building a foundation for greater economic opportunities for the local community."
Morgan and Carter are working to bring new life to the building, but they do not want to forget the past. They encourage everyone who worked in the factory or just has memories to share to bring them to the factory.
They plan on having a wall for everyone who worked in the factory to sign and leave copies of their old pictures.
"This facility is for the community," Carter said.