BREWER, Maine — He has owned the place for 15 years, but Adam Sutton still enjoys handing paychecks to his workers at Highland Belts & Fine Leather Goods every week.

Like he has since he launched the company, Sutton ambles through the wide pathways of the factory, shaking hands, saying thank you and making small talk as he pays his staff, not with any apparent regret or despotism — no need to pry the money from his hands — but with a sense of satisfaction.

And, he said, gratitude.

Sutton is inspired by the fact “that people are willing to help you, that they’re willing to give it what I believe is their best shot. I really believe that my business would be nothing without them.”

“Without them,” Sutton added, “I don’t have a business, and you know what? I have to thank them.”

The business, Sutton said, makes cloth and leather belts; golf belts, with a divot repair tool very cleverly built into it; wallets; rubber sandals; keyfobs; and a whole bunch of other leather goods. Much of it is special order, in small runs.

For its 15 or so workers, it doesn’t pay terribly much. New hires start at minimum wage and get up to $13 to $15 per hour if they prove out. And some of the goods they make are pricey indeed. One belt, made for Brooks Brothers, retails for about $298 but can be bought at Highland for less than $100, Sutton said. Similarly, golf belts that retail for close to $100 are on sale at the factory for less than $50 — good deals.

The factory at 96 Parkway South is well-lit by fluorescents, which give off a pallid glow, and relatively clean. It’s warm and the air is odor-free, except for the occasional whiff of what looks like leather stain that goes over some of the belts. The buzz of sewing machines is pretty constant.

Like so much other handmade manufacturing work, belt-making mixes the repetitive and the meticulous. It involves at least five different procedures of sewing, staining, assembly, double-checking, then boxing and shipping to turn a set of leather or cloth strips into a finished belt.

A stitch a quarter-inch off can be the difference between a successful piece and a misfire. Much of the labor, Sutton said, revolves around a constant need to maximize the use of every piece of leather handled and the time absorbed in the process.

Sutton said he finds humor in the mistakes — amazement that people who have been at it for years can make the same kinds of errors or gaffes so divergent as to boggle his mind.

Yet the place has a warm feel to it, according to Tammy Bishop of Frankfort, who helps manage the factory’s shipping department.

“I like my job,” Bishop said. “It’s fun. We are a big family. We can laugh, joke. Everybody gets along good.”

The factory employs about 15 people but last year peaked at 21. It makes 75,000 to 125,000 items annually and has an off season that forces temporary layoff of many of its workers, Sutton said.

“I spend two months a year struggling. I just do because of who we work with and their markets,” Sutton said. “But we’ve actually grown steadily over the 15 years. I would say every one to three years we will add on another person.

“Honestly, if I could find the business, I think I could handle 25 people, in this facility,” he added. “But I need to have a stronger base.”