Stepping into Burns Cowboy Shop is like entering into a legendary time capsule, brimming with Western heirlooms. The store’s leather boots, felt hats, silver pieces and saddles embody the durability and rugged beauty of the Western frontier and tell the tale of the Burns family, a lineage build on grit, adaptability and tenacity.

Established in 1876, Burns is the oldest, same-family-owned cowboy shop in the world, with two Park City locations (Main Street and Canyons Village) and a workshop in Salina.

As Braydan Shaw, the sixth- generation owner and president of the Burns company, explains the company’s origins, it sounds almost mythical.

“It starts with Miles Lamonie Burns,” he says. “His father left his mother [who was pregnant with Miles] to go back to Illinois. She decided to continue West with the pioneers. Our founder was born in a wagon in December 1846. Then, ended up in Utah in 1847.”

A single mother choosing to raise her son in the rugged desert provides a peek into the soul of Burns. By age 13, Miles was working as a cowboy and saving his money to make his entrepreneurial dream a reality.

“In 1876, he opened his harness and blacksmith shop in Loa, Utah,” Braydan says. One of the first Burns customers was none other than the infamous outlaw Butch Cassidy, who would stash items for Miles to repair under a tree in the cover of night. “That’s our origin story, that era in Utah. Miles was a young pioneer striking out on his own, trying to find his place in the world — and he found it in leatherworking,” Braydan explains.

When Miles’ son, Vivian, took ownership of Burns, he saw more opportunity in Salina and physically relocated the entire operation. “Viv was creative in that entrepreneurial spirit. He jacked up the building, put it on logs, and spent all summer pulling it with a horse team over the mountains to where the shop is today.”


The next major pivot was done by Braydan’s grandmother, Donna. Donna found a niche that allowed the saddle shop to continue thriving in the new era of transportation. “The automobile industry could have put us out of business,” Braydan says. “My grandmother invented the automobile seat covers. That was our biggest industry from the ’70s to the mid ’90s.”

Things shifted once again under Braydan’s mother, Danna.

“My mother had a huge impact on where we are today. She took over the retail side of the business when she was
28 years old,” Braydan says. Under Danna’s direction, Burns went from a local shop selling moccasins, boots and animal traps to a renowned destination for high-quality Western wear.

“That took us from a small, really niche regional brand to where we are today,” Braydan says admiringly. “We have had a lot of really strong women leaders. From our founder’s mother to my grandmother and my mother.”

Today, under Braydan’s direction, Burns has evolved to embody Western heritage with wearable heirloom art. “My generation has brought back the passion for traditional craft and established Burns as a leader in that area — on the product side and also on the maker and education side.”

Every Burns item, from the leather boots and custom saddles to felt hats and silver wearables, are made by craftspeople who rely on decades- or centuries-old methods.

“A lot of the technique for saddlemaking, hatmaking and silversmithing is the same as it was in the late 1800s,” Braydan says.

This dedication to authenticity is the foundation and driving force behind Burns’ success.

“People resonate with our story because our story really is what we sell. It’s the spirit of the West; leaving your current station and seeking a better life,” Braydan explains, noting they’re working to pass the craft onto the next generation of creators. At their historic headquarters in Salina, he says, “We created a campus environment where we teach young ranch kids the craft. From silversmithing to bootmaking to saddlemaking and hatmaking — they create these beautiful, heirloom-quality products that embody the spirit of the West.”

The workshop in Salina, where the Burns products are made, proudly employ local kids who get their start as paid interns.

“The most important part of our story is the culture that we have within Burns,” Braydan says, noting that the brand’s longevity and success are the result of being adaptable. “A big part of our culture is being open to new ideas and pivoting.”