Thomas Mueller

Thomas Mueller - born 8-22-1949

Son of Norbert Mueller and Helen Ivanov Mueller

Wife: Joyce Nelson - born 3-24-49

Married 6-5-1970


Stacy Joy - born 12-1-1971

Shane Thomas - born 4-20-1974

Sara Beth - born 3-30-1977

Tom Mueller was born in Bismarck, ND at St. Alexis Hospital.  He lived in Napoleon, ND until graduating from High School in 1967.  He graduated from Dakota Business College in Fargo, ND in 1969.  Then he worked at Smith, Follett & Crowl - a wholesale clothing firm in Fargo - until 1970.  He moved with his wife Joyce to Carrington, where he worked at Borth & Speidel as manager of their men's clothing department until 1973.  Then they moved back to Napoleon, where he was employed at Family Clothing as assistant manager until 1975.  He bought his first store - Wheeler Shoes in Jamestown - and renamed it The Shoe Box.  In 1980, they added a shoe repair shop to the store.  

In 1983, they started a leather craft shop in the same building.  In 1985, they started Dakota Belt Company; it evolved out of the leather craft shop.  They sold the shoe store's inventory around 1986, and sold the shoe repair business around 1987.  The belt business was getting better, so Dakota Belt moved to a new location at 1009 17th St SW in 1990.  They added a moccasin factory to the business in 1993 and started making leather hats.  They set up in malls at Christmas (November - December) beginning in 1985.

Tom started a retail outlet in Deadwood, SD with his brother Dan; it survived until gambling took the town over and they could no longer get their lease renewed.  They also started a retail outlet in Keystone, SD.

Presently (2004), Dakota Belt & Moccasin runs two retail outlets: (1) Oatman, AZ & (2) Frontier Village in Jamestown, ND.  They manufacture about 50% of the items they sell.  They continue to set up in malls at Christmas, as well as selling at large events like country music festivals in the summer.