Faith, Family, and Leather

Leaving a Lasting Heritage for the Glory of God

Written by Jenny Riddle

Companions since childhood and sweethearts since high school, Rick and Coleen Holtz held the ideas of heritage and legacy close to their hearts. As an extension of those values, they always dreamed of having a large family and owning a business. Rick has an entrepreneur’s heart and drive, undertaking various endeavors from running a paper route as a young child to a small engine repair business. At 22years old, three years after they were married, Rick and Coleen had a successful e-commerce computer parts business and were parents to three children: their dreams were becoming a reality. However, success turned elusive almost ten years later, in 2008. During the next five years, the Holtzes experienced four miscarriages and lost their business. With a lack of income, they also lost their home, had their cars repossessed, and were struggling to survive. Rick was losing all hope for living. The legacy he wanted to create seemed entirely out of reach.

However, God was drawing their hearts to Him in a way that success could not. Rick began to grasp the reality of the gospel profoundly and came to a life-changing understanding of his adoption in Christ. “You don’t get the gospel without getting adoption,” Rick explains. As a result, during this period of incredible loss, God opened Rick’s heart to adopting children. Coleen had wanted to adopt since she was young; now that God had moved Rick’s heart, they both had the calling and desire—but not the ability. They were in desperate circumstances.

The Holtz family was facing homelessness, now with six kids, donkeys, horses, chickens, and other farm animals in their care. Yet, in 2014, they saw God’s hand visibly working in their lives. Providentially, a friend connected them with a home that provided ample space for their family and animals. They moved, and Rick took a job at a business he didn’t own for the first time in his life. At the same time, Coleen had the idea to try their hand at selling embroidered bridal party robes. They borrowed an old embroidery machine that Rick’s father had stored in his basement. With all the money they could spare, they bought four robes to make samples, uploaded them to Etsy, and waited. They did not wait long. God blessed their efforts, and sales were immediate. The Etsy app on their phone began to fill their ears with cash register sounds each time a sale came through. Bulk orders or personalized robes came pouring in, and the Holtzes became entrepreneurs again with their company, Heritage Wedding. The business grew, filling up every corner of their basement. Rick’s desire for a family-based business was coming to fruition. He explains what that meant to him and Coleen, “Thinking about legacy and heritage, we wanted to think multi-generational. We really wanted to do something that our hands touch and that our family could be a part of. We saw that opportunity as our whole family was working in the basement together.”

However, the growth was not simply in dollars or return on investments. Their relationship with Christ and reliance upon each other had been nurtured through the pain of the previous years. Rick and Coleen had been transparent with their children about their circumstances, and as a family, they were able to work together and give glory where it was due for the success of their efforts. Rick explained that though their children “knew there was some financial difficulty, they also knew the source of our hope was Christ and that’s where we put everything.” The legacy created by the Holtz family now had solid roots in Christ—roots that will not fail, no matter how dire the circumstances. The family’s financial situation turned from dire to stable because of their reliance on God’s leading and a rapidly growing business. They were able to set the goal of adoption at the forefront of their efforts. To further that goal, they expanded their company into leather, an idea that had been percolating in their minds. Through the success of Heritage Weddings, they were able to invest in equipment, books, and supplies to teach themselves how to make quality leather products.

Once again, God gave a bountiful return on their efforts. They experienced more substantial growth, seeing their business multiply every year. After just two years, the Holtz’s ability to adopt became a reality, and they applied to Lifeline. They entered into the Costa Rica program and sought out a sibling group. A couple of years later, they committed to a sibling group of five, and their entire family traveled to meet the children and bring them home. They also brought a Holtz employee (and friend) on the trip to film and document the entire process of becoming a family of 13. This video resides on their company’s website to share about adoption with people from all over the world. As a result, the Holtzes receive questions about adoption regularly from people who visit their online store. Rick and Coleen answer questions, share their story, and communicate the purpose of adoption with people they meet through their business. Their adoption story impacted their immediate family and became a family legacy that draws others to adoption through their business. This kind of impact would not have been possible without the years of struggle in their lives, but God used their scars and bruises to extend the legacy of their family farther than Rick and Coleen could have imagined.

Rick and Coleen’s business was always about family and investing in what would come after them. Through years of heartache and then adoption, their family legacy grew—in size and impact. Each Holtz child of working age is involved in the business in some way. Madison, the oldest, lives out of state with her husband but still maintains the financial books for the company. She is also skilled in painting art pieces, which are printed and sold on stationery packs. Faith, the second oldest, does various tasks like inventory management and working retail. Kelsey, the third oldest, runs social media for the company. During Christmas, most of the children get a turn working retail and earning money. However, many of them are also learning to take raw goods, like leather or wood, and turn them into sellable art pieces. Jacob and Levi are learning how to turn wood from their grandfather, Rick’s dad. They eagerly find scrap wood pieces from the production facility and take them home to work on new projects with the lathe. As their children get older and develop interests, Rick and Coleen seek to set them up for success. For example, Kelsey makes cheese, butter, and yogurt from the milk cow she asked for and received last Christmas. Evelyn likes to work with animals and has been rehabilitating a kitten who could not walk. Joseph likes to play the piano and wants to play in a church one day. He’s also the one who always carries a tool with him and is known as the “fix-it” man. Vivian loves to write encouraging notes and wants to write a book about her family one day. For now, one of Benjamin’s favorite activities is riding the scooter through the spacious parts of the warehouse, and he’s allowed to do so safely.

No matter what part they play in Holtz Leather Co., together, they are part of a company that bears their family name and their legacy for generations to come. Each Holtz leather good is stamped with the Holtz logo, a small castle with “The Lord’s Vineyard” written in Hebrew inside. Rick describes the logo as “a reminder that everything He establishes is not ours. We are just a steward of the vineyard—a worker to be faithful with a task that He puts before us.” Rick reflects on his role as a steward in a remarkable business, “All of this can be taken away in a moment, and I know that full well. God gives, and God takes away, but He is still good. No matter what happens, it’s just to bring glory to Him. “Bringing God glory is at the heart of the Holtz family legacy, and the Holtz family is at the heart of Holtz Leather Co. That truth not only means that their family imbues each aspect of their company but that they also leverage their business for the values their family hold, like the gospel, adoption, hard work, stewardship, and heritage. The gospel is a thread through all they do, from helping employees heal broken marriages to physical products that call to the Lordship of God. They use their website, social media, and physical products to advocate for adoption. They have also used their success to financially contribute to organizations like Lifeline, which take the gospel to orphaned and vulnerable children. This past July, they also hosted a Stand for Orphans® lemonade and popcorn stand in front of the Holtz Leather Co. retail store in Huntsville, Alabama. Through all of these efforts, they are shepherding the hearts of their children to be diligent stewards of the skills, giftedness, and resources that God has given them. Even if all eleven children do not become employees (or future owners) of the Holtz company, Rick and Coleen’s “goal is to prepare them to be good stewards and to realize that God created work to be used by Him. Everything from packaging boxes to customer service—do it as if you’re doing it for the Lord.

What is done for the Lord will be a heritage that lasts. Heritage—a word that was part of their embroidery business name and is currently painted on their Holtz Leather Co. storefront window. It’s a word that carries intentionality in the Holtz family and their business. Their story, like their leather, will last throughout generations because they have been faithful to steward the hard times, the prosperous times, and the opportunities to impact others for eternity—all for the glory of God. As Rick says, “That’s the whole purpose in this business.”