Townsend Timeline

Townsend Leather 50th History Celebration Magazine











MoreThe Beginning

  • September 1969, Townsend Leather was founded by Albert (Red) and Dorothy Kucel and their children.
  • The focus of this new company was Contract Finishing of Argentine crust leathers for the garment industry. High volume, lower quality and costs were the manufacturing concepts and strategies at this time.

The 1970’s

MoreHigh Volume, Low Cost Model for the Garment Industry

  • The company expands its finishing plant, increasing the building to 80,000 SF and building a 25,000 SF tannery. As a result, the company now starts tanning and coloring, as well as finishing, all types of leathers including cowhide, sheepskin, goatskin, deerskin, pigskin, and other specialty leathers such as stingray. High volume in just a few colors is the business model.

The 1980’s

MoreProgression from the Shoe Market to the Upholstery Market

  • During this decade, the company’s main market becomes the shoe market as the garment business moves to Asia.
  • Tragedy strikes as Albert (Red) Kucel was killed in an accident. Red’s son, Terry Kucel, assumes the role of President.
  • The company exits the tanning business and focuses on contract finishing business.
  • As the shoe business moves to Asia in the mid 1980’s, the company enters the Home Furnishings and A & D Markets.
  • In the late 1980’s, Townsend begins contract coloring and finishing for the aviation market.

The 1990’s

MoreGrowth of Niche Markets

  • During this decade, Townsend focuses on niche markets; the shift is to small volume, high quality, higher priced manufacturing concepts and strategy.
  • Townsend founds its model of Exceptional Customer Service during these years. With an emphasis on niche markets, working directly with customers and designers and being responsive to their specific needs is imperative. Providing excellent customer service remains a key hallmark of Townsend to this day.
  • In 1991, Townsend starts providing leather to Gulfstream Aircraft Company.
  • Spurred by opportunities in the VIP Aviation market, in 1992, Townsend establishes a new business model based on upfront design and sample support, high quality and greater customization. This model is taken to the corporate aircraft market.
  • In 1993, Townsend becomes the Standards supplier for Cessna Aircraft, and it also expands its business into Learjet and other aircraft refurbishment shops around the US.
  • Through the 1990’s, Townsend develops a marketing program of “Any Color, Any Finish, Any Texture” to promote its continuously-developing design, service, manufacturing, customization, and quality capabilities and strengths.
  • In 1999, a partnership between Townsend and The Leather Institute is formed when Terry Kucel and Patrick Dorgan officially join forces. Through this partnership, a wide array of leather care and maintenance training, products, and services become available to the aviation market.

The 2000’s

MoreEvolution from Manufacturer to Worldwide Brand

  • In early 2000, the 3rd generation of the Kucel family officially joins the business.
  • After the events of 9/11, Townsend decides to actively diversify its markets and product lines. Throughout this decade, Townsend expands its global reach by adding sales representation throughout the international marketplace. Townsend creates dozens of new product lines, with hundreds of new product skus and puts some stock programs into place. Many of these new products are complimentary to standard finished leathers and are in a wide range of looks, finishes, and textures. Decorative, embossed, and hand-tipped leathers are introduced at a steady pace. Capabilities for creating custom embossing plates are discovered. “Color, Texture and Design” and “Creative Interior Solutions” become the new marketing phrases as Townsend boasts 400 embossing plates, hundreds gaufrage rolls, and further capabilities to fully customize leathers to a designer’s vision.
  • In 2006, Townsend begins offering the value-added service of cutting to customers’ patterns. Townsend targets the Aviation OEM market for this service and establishes ongoing programs with a variety of customers to provide pre-cut leather kits instead of leather hides.


MorePositioning for an Economic Recovery

  • Despite a challenging worldwide economy, Townsend undertakes a major plant design and installs new equipment and processes to improve quality and efficiency in its production facilities.
  • Townsend maintains its dedication to focusing on a variety of industries including Aviation, Hospitality, A & D Residential, and Niche Markets with dedicated sales representation throughout the major markets of the world. Townsend continues to launch innovative products on a regular basis. New techniques for hand applications and more artistic looks abound as does leather created for new and interesting applications, such as wall, floor, casegoods, and artwork.
  • The 3rd generation of the Kucel family transitions to leadership roles as Terry Kucel targets retirement.

2012 and

MoreThe Latest Achievements and Developments

  • In 2012, Townsend received AS9100 certification.
  • Also in 2012, Studio Vizto, a high-end upholstery shop, is opened in Orlando, Florida to service Townsend VIP and Corporate Aircraft accounts.
  • In October 2012, Townsend launches a new website and unveils new tagline: A Passion for Leather, Luxury and Design which emphasizes our commitment as a company dedicated to making exceptionally beautiful and innovative leathers for high-end applications.
  • Townsend looks to continued growth and excitement about all the possibilities the future brings.