97 Years of Dedicated Craftsmanship

Feb 22, 2024
Written by: Hope Anderson

History runs deep within the walls of Bray’s Saddlery and Western Wear in downtown Minot.

The story really begins in Ukraine in 1913 when Sam Nikitenko’s father saw the writing on the wall that a revolution was on the horizon and he wanted a better life for his youngest son. He gave him money to leave Ukraine and soon found himself in Halifax, Nova Scotia. As a cobbler by trade, he was able to secure work in Canada and then in Chicago. Because of the Homestead Act, Sam journeyed to North Dakota and acquired land in Makoti and then purchased land west of Minot.

In 1927, Sam opened a shoe repair shop in Bray’s Cleaners. While the business has always been located in downtown Minot, it was housed in several buildings before landing in the current location of 215 Main St S. in about 1962. Sam passed the business onto his son, Andy, and in the 1970s, the western store was added. The family tradition has continued and the next generation is now the face of a business that has called Minot home for almost 100 years!

An original instruction manual from equipment purchased in 1958 that is still being used today!

When you walk into Bray’s Saddlery, you will likely be greeted by Joanne and you will find Greg busy working on a pair of shoes, boots, a purse or other leather repair. They have several employees who also call Bray’s their home away from home. You can find a wide variety of products in the store including a full service western store complete with boots, hats, jeans, shirts, jewelry, purses, coats, and more. They carry infant to adult sizes. They also offer saddles and tack, rodeo gear, chaps, leather craft tools and unique gift items.

Bray’s offers many leather repair services, all of which are done in store, and the quality and craftsmanship can not be beat. Whether looking for something new to wear to a rodeo or on the ranch, needing shoes repair, upgrading a saddle or other tack, or looking for a gift, Bray’s is the place to go. Their staff is knowledgeable, helpful, and dedicated to their customers and it is what has kept their business thriving for nearly a century.

You can find out more about Bray’s Saddlery and Western Wear on their website, https://brayssaddlery.com/, on social media including Facebook and Instagram by searching Bray’s Saddlery, or in person at 215 Main St S. Just look for the white horse on the top of the awning, which has stood proudly representing the business for over 50 years.

An original sign that still hangs in the store today.

With its long standing history in the Minot community, Bray’s is one of only a handful of businesses that can say they have had a presence here for almost 100 years. The Nikitenkos have clearly found a way to keep tradition alive while adjusting to the ever changing needs of customers. It seems to be the perfect mix of history and progress that makes it a special treasure in Minot. Make sure to stop into Bray’s Saddlery and Western Wear the next time you shop downtown.

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