Flying Possum Leather owner Bruce Walker dies in store fire

Photo: Jon Schluess
Flying Possum Leather owner Bruce Walker demonstrates one of his handmade guitar straps inside his shop on Dickson Street in Fayetteville. Walker, 57, died in a early morning fire at his store on March 7.

Dickson Street has lost a piece of its soul.

Flying Possum Leather owner, artist, and craftsman Bruce Walker died after a fire at his store Monday morning. He was 57 years old.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

According to Fayetteville Animal Services Program Administrator Joni Mosher, Bruce’s shop dog, Bugsy, survived the fire and is currently at the city’s animal shelter.

Mosher said she’d probably wait about 10 days to see if any of Walker’s family members come forth before putting Bugsy up for adoption.

Bruce opened his shop on Dickson Street more than 34 years ago, making custom sandals, leather belts and guitar straps by hand, and sharing his complex theory about how shoes with elevated heels and tapered toes were the root of all evil to anyone that would listen.

Flying Possum Leather was one of the last remnants of a Dickson Street that existed before the enhancement project. Before the Walton Arts Center. Even before some of you were born.

“There aren’t any stores like this left in the country,” Walker told us in a 2009 interview. “This is last of the Mohicans.”

Bruce was also one of a kind. He will be missed.