Massena Company Attracts Customers From Around The WorldPosted: Updated:
It's not unusual to find retired state corrections officer Tony O'Geen in front of a sewing machine.
As a successful grassroots businessman, he manufactures and repairs a variety of sports-related equipment.
But, that's not the only thing he does.
"I had a guy from Afghanistan, a sergeant major in Special Forces, want me to make rifle slings for him. It's interesting," said O'Geen.
The 1984 SUNY Canton graduate started Tony's Canvas in his house 11 years ago and later moved into his garage for more space.
Since then, O'Geen has created his own niche making an assortment of athletic bags and other equipment as well as re-palming hockey gloves for local universities.
Business has increased so much he now plans to move into another building which will eventually have a showroom and expanded production space.
"Every bag is different. We've got to tweak just about every bag because it's all hand-made," said O'Geen.
The company's reputation has become well-known, not just locally but internationally thanks to his website.
Hockey bags have recently made their way to Latvia, Russia and more orders are coming in.
Hockey bags have changed a lot since the one once used by 1980 U.S. Miracle on Ice Olympic gold medalist Buzz Schneider that O'Geen displays in his workshop.
O'Geen says a lot of pride goes into each custom order.