Robert Shuster is famous, just not for his business.
The Goodfellow Fireman has been serving the community for several years now, most notably with his spring into action at the Wildcat Blaze of 2011. Now, he is offering something new to San Angelo that initially was just intended to be commemorative.
Ok, it’s not all about ‘bling’, but as other San Angelo crafters have said, it’s definitely a good starting place for success in selling homemade decorative pieces.
Shuster’s R and G Texas Crafts do indeed offer plenty of the shiny stuff San Angeloans are crazy about, but his main use of material dates a little more traditional ‘Old West’. Combining 'Texas' elements such as horeshoes and and wood with color and jewels, Shuster has created a niche in the crafters market, even if getting there started out somber.
“My dad passed away with cancer a couple of months ago,” Shuster said, “My mom wanted a ribbon…I said ‘I’m going to make one out of a horseshoe,’ and it turned out really good. I put it on a garden stick so we could put it in our garden and it just took off.”
The ribbon was Shuster’s first go at working with horseshoes for decorative art, and what started only six months ago with a single horseshoe cancer ribbon has since grown into a serious side-job moneymaker. Best of all? It’s a family hobby that now more than funds itself.
“[My wife, Ginny] She does all my beading and decorates; puts the ‘bling’ on them,” Shuster says. “Or the kids do it, my stepdaughters.”
Originally a hobby woodworker, Shuster and his family are now making a variety of horseshoe pieces, ranging from flowers, pumpkins and Christmas trees to ribbons, candleholders and coasters.
“I also make birdhouses out of cowboy boots,” Shuster said, proudly purveying his inventory on his smart phone.
And as he speaks with an enthused glow of his sprawling wood shop, the businessman gets the best of him: “You get a saddle rack…put it in your trailer, and it takes up a lot of room. I can get a Rubbermaid thing of horseshoes…and have three times the profit in that container. “
Earned revenue was high enough to offer hope at last week’s Greater San Angelo Crafts Guild Fall Festival; Shuster’s horseshoe creations brought in $2,000 in revenue.
So should the fire department start worrying about losing one of their finest employees? Shuster chuckled, “Hell no!” he said. The hobby is a great free-time filler, but the real fun is in being a fireman.