Bill Schultz always intended to reupholster the two chairs he bought from a neighbor.
That was years ago.
The thing was he could never find the time to take a class and learn how, because he was always working when the classes were offered.
That changed a little more than a year ago when he found himself unemployed for the first time in his life.
“I never have not been working, so it was a shock,” Schultz said.
For 11 years, he worked in customer service at AT&T, in Appleton.
When cuts were made there in September 2011, his position was among them.
“While I was looking for work, I took the reupholstery class through Fox Valley Technical College,” Schultz said. “They offered the class two days per week. I started right away. I kept taking classes until it ended in May, and I really liked it.”
Being unemployed was horrible, he said.
Soon, he had an idea of how to change that.
“Knowing only one other person who does it (reupholstery) in Waupaca, I thought maybe there was a niche for it,” Schultz said.
He came to that realization when he was about four months into the class.
“I decided to start a business, that this might be something I can do,” Schultz said.
On June 1, he opened The Recovery Shop at 117 W. Fulton St.
He called Bill Barg early last spring to inquire about the space and learned it was available.
Next, Schultz began to think about what he could do to the outside of the building to attract attention.
With the help of his wife Lee, who teaches art at Waupaca High School, and Allyce Lees, of the Paint Store, colors were chosen.
They decided to make it look like a big cushion.
“So many people went by and said they didn’t even know there was a building here,” Schultz said.
Inside, he works out of a space which is not quite 200 square feet.
The buiding’s front door is especially wide, which comes in handy.
Schultz said working out of his home was not option, because it would have meant dealing with basement stairs.
Since he and Lee both grew up in Waupaca and have always loved the downtown, his location on West Fulton Street turned out to be perfect.
“The businesses downtown are so supportive. I just feel like everybody kind of watches out for everybody,” Schultz said.
Some of his reupholstered items, including a couch and two chairs, are for sale at a neighboring business, the Revival.
He also has lots of pillows available there, which feature hand-screened images done by Lee.
Schultz said Jane Carney, who was his FVTC teacher, was helpful in telling him what he needed to get started.
The industrial sewing machine in his shop was a Craig’s List find by his son Max.
“Luckily, Lee is an excellent sewer, so she helped tune it up to just the right settings,” Schultz said.
He said some of his customers select their own fabric, while in other cases, he does the search for them.
Schultz may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and at 715-258-5060.
Reupholstering involves ripping a piece of furniture down to the frame, building it up again and then recov ing it again, he said.
“I like the fact that it is getting to be a lost trade, a lost art,” Schultz said. “There aren’t many people who do it anymore. You can be creative. It’s nice to take a piece and see the finished product.”
Business has been steady since his opening last spring, thanks to word of mouth and his presence on Facebook.
When asked how he came up with the name for the business, Schultz explained that he and Lee brainstormed different names. She came up with “The Recovery,” which upon a search, they learned had already been taken elsewhere by a business.
“So, we decided to make it The Recovery Shop,” he said.
Schultz was nervous about starting a business but received encouragement from many.
“I have to say, everything that has come (into his shop), everything is different,” he said. “It’s a challenge and fun to find out how to do it.”
At home, he has plenty of items to reupholster and sell.
Some pieces were found at the curb and others at thrift stores.
Again, he has had a lot of luck on Craig’s List, finding items which say “Come and get it. Free.”
His customers include those wanting a new luck for their home or business.
They refer others to him, and, of course, having a bright building on a main Waupaca street also catches the eyes of many.