MAGNA — Dave Osborn is standing in front of the family sewing business he's been running ever since his dad said, "Here, look after this till I get back."
That was in 1971.
If Dave knows anything, it's that when an Osborn leaves, you just never know where they might wind up.
Take his dad, for instance. He was supposed to go on a three-year mission for the LDS Church to Florida and then return to the contract sewing business he started in 1946. But that mission led to another one in the Philippines and then an appointment as a general authority for the church and then as president of the Salt Lake Temple. Spencer H. Osborn never did return to Magna.
And take Dave's first three daughters, for another "for instance." A talent scout from RCA Records thought they were pretty good singers when they were teenagers growing up in Magna and lined up a recording session for them in Nashville — where they remain to this day.
Their names are Kristyn, Kelsi and Kassidy. You may know them better as SHeDaisy, one of the top country music trios of all time.
And the Osborn's other three kids? All they did was go out of state to play Division I college basketball — Clayton and Karli at Lipscomb University in Nashville, Tenn., and Cade at Mesa State in Colorado by way of Utah State.
Clayton is still in Nashville, where he's using his master's degree in mediation to work in the medical services industry, while Karli is living in Chicago, where her husband is in medical school.
Only Cade has come back home. After receiving a master's in business administration from the University of Utah, he's back at Osborn Specialty Sewing, helping his dad run the family business that Dave and his brothers and sisters de facto inherited 40 years ago.
Dave, 64, looks at all the adventures and accomplishments that time has wrought for his children and gives credit where credit belongs: his wife, Robyn.
"She graduated magna cum laude from the University of Utah and could have done anything she wanted," he says, "but she knew where she needed to be, staying home, nurturing and teaching. I can lay all the success my children have had on her."
Her philosophy, and his, in raising them was simple: "It's the adage that you teach them correct principles, dog them night and day when they're young and then turn them loose and hope for the best."
After that, "you just try whenever you can to keep them grounded," says Dave, who notes that every time the famous SHeDaisy sisters come home, "we make sure they wash the dishes."
Evidence that the country music stars aren't the center of the Osborn universe can be seen at the company's warehouse on 3500 South — by the relative lack of any evidence at all.
There are no signs that proclaim "SHeDAISY worked here," no banners, no SHeDAISY music blaring through the speakers.
In Dave's office, a plaque proclaiming that the group's first CD, "The Whole SHeBANG," went platinum (over a million sold) hangs on the wall behind his desk. It's slightly crooked and hasn't been dusted in years.
Still, even if he is no stage parent, get Dave Osborn talking about his children, any of them, about their music, their sports, their families, about anything, and it's clear it's his favorite subject.
Before they were SHeDaisy (derived from a Navajo word meaning "little sister"), he recalled that Kristyn, Kelsi and Kassidy started out as the Osborns.
"But people kept coming up and saying they didn't know Donny and Marie had little sisters."3 comments on this story
Through the years, the one constant for the Osborns has been the sewing business that his father opened the year Dave was born. At first, the original Osborns sewed for companies such as Pendleton, Eddie Bauer and White Stag, but when cheap overseas labor took much of that market away, the company business found its own niche. Today, with a work force of 150 employees, the Osborns make sports uniforms and other workout gear. Every day, they produce between 7,000 and 8,000 uniforms — nearly 2 million a year — that are distributed nationwide and beyond. That school sports team you're watching could very likely be wearing Osborn gear.
Sometime later this year, Dave plans to turn over the chairman duties of Osborn Specialty Sewing to Cade. It's high time, he says. He and Robyn have already been on one LDS mission — a public affairs assignment in Australia — and are ready to see more of the world. There's no telling where they might go or when they might be back.
It runs in the family.
Lee Benson's About Utah column runs Monday and Friday. EMAIL: email@example.com