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Burns is the oldest same family owned western retail business in the world. Miles Lamonie Burns, cowboy, fine leather craftsman, blacksmith, musician, husband, father, and visionary, founded Burns in 1876. Since its beginning, Burns has had six different shop names, six generations of ownership, and one family, one legacy, one culture: COWBOY.
Burns Saddlery headquartered in Salina Utah is the oldest same family owned western retail business in the world. Miles Lamonie Burns--cowboy, fine leather craftsman, blacksmith, musician, husband, father, and visionary-- founded Burns in 1876. His dream of settling a territory in Utah started in Nephi and ended up at the gateway of Capitol Reef near Torrey, UT, where he opened the first Burns retail shop in the spring of 1876. Miles son Vivian opened his shop in Salina with a talent for producing high quality harnesses for horses. The demand became so great Viv hired three men to do the hand stitching while he did the cutting and fitting. Still, they couldn’t keep up with the demand, and in 1912, Viv bought his first foot-powered harness stitcher.
Around that time Viv invented pack bags, a strapping arrangement which replaced the old Diamond Hitch. The design was later adopted by the U.S. Government. During the Depression in the 1930’s Viv and his wife, Ida, opened a new store on West Main Street in Salina, their sons, Vern and Don, learned the trade during that time when work horses made a comeback.
In 1944 Vern went into partnership with his father. Vern purchased a building at 60 West Main in 1946, which became the third location for the business in Salina. Viv continued in the business until he retired in 1952. At that time the work horse was a thing of the past, but saddle horses were growing in popularity. Vern shifted the business emphasis to meet that demand and saddles, riding equipment, and canvas products entered the inventory. In 1959 Vern’s son, Dan returned from serving eleven years in the U.S. Army to join the business. Vern made him a partner in 1962. This same year Vern received a patent for his invention—the Pik Pocket. The item hooked to the back of a pickup seat so when the seat back moved forward, the pocket opened to provide storage space.
Dan and his wife, Donna, bought the business in 1969 and began marketing their creation, the Indian Blanket-type seat covers in 1971. The demand to manufacture seat covers was such that Dan moved the saddlery portion of the business to a building next door and converted the two story building into a manufacturing and shipping business. In 1978, Dan and Donna’s daughter Danna, along with her husband Scott, began their journey with Burns Saddlery. Scott worked with Donna in seat covers, and in 1984 oversaw the construction of the new 13,000 square foot store. Danna became store manager, introducing for the first time a females touch, adding clothing more boots, and western lifestyle gifts and accessories. In 1997 Scott and Danna started a mobile business setting up and selling products at key equestrian events throughout the west. In 1999 after receiving his business degree Braydan Shaw, sixth-generation owner, started his journey with the long-standing family business.
Recently Burns Saddlery has taken steps to continue to expand the Burns legacy opening Cowboy Shops in Park City, UT in 2008 and Carmel by-the-Sea, CA in 2010; and Burns 1876 in Newport Beach, CA in 2013. Each Burns Shop features unique artists that fashion the finest materials into timeless heirloom quality possessions. Burns has evolved from a business providing items of necessities to locations providing fine products for people who love horses and the lifestyle and romance the West provides.