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'Makes me proud we can help' | Charlotte-based leather goods company helping other businesses struggling through pandemic

The family-owned business is sending 1,000 aprons to restaurants across the country.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — A small Charlotte-based leather goods company is having a big impact around the country, giving back in an unexpected way.

The company olpr. Leather Goods Co. makes leather aprons and decided to thank the customers that helped them survive the pandemic by returning the favor.

Pavel and Julia Prannyk are the Ukrainian husband and wife team behind olpr. Leather Goods Co. They started their business out of an apartment in 2014 selling on Etsy and now have a factory in Mooresville and a storefront in Charlotte. 

They make handcrafted leather-bound books, watch bands and more but their custom-designed aprons are their most popular item -- especially in the restaurant and hospitality industry.

Before COVID-19, most of their bulk orders came from restaurants.

It was those bulk orders that sustained them at the beginning of the pandemic. Now that their business has come back, they wanted to help some of their customers who are still struggling.

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"We remember what they did for us before COVID, that’s why we decided we can show you how we care, and even if with small action we can show we are really grateful," Julia Prannyk said.

The couple is donating 1,000 aprons to small and locally-owned restaurants around the country.

Nick Sharp owns restaurants in Miami and couldn’t believe someone would just gift him 20 aprons. 

"I got the email and I thought it was a scam," Sharp said, adding, "Your apron is a really personalized thing -- whether bartender, chef, everybody has their own apron. It's a really personal thing so it's a really nice gift for people to get."

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He says it's another example of the lesson so many of us learned in 2020: we’re all connected. 

"So as we reopen you see people a little more aware and grateful working together and willing to help each other, because without one of those links the chain breaks," Sharp said.

Pavel Prannyk agrees and is glad to be able to give back. 

"It makes me really proud," Pavel Prannyk said. "These people help us to make our business and now we want to help them -- makes me proud we can help them."

The 1,000 Aprons Campaign is ongoing. So far more than a dozen restaurants in California, Florida, New York and Texas have received batches of aprons.

Contact Michelle at mboudin@wcnc.com and follow her on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.