Home  >  Our Story

It All Started On A Snowy Winter Day!

It's always amazing to me when you look back on your past and follow the seemingly unrelated events that have led you to the present. For me it would go all the way back to my childhood and growing up on the Gulf Coast of Florida. From the time I was about 12 years old until I joined the Navy, I fished and boated literally every single day, (including some school days). I fished the Gulf, the saltwater bays of the Inter coastal, the rivers, lakes and farm ponds thru out the state. I got my Captain's License in my twenties and first moved to Wisconsin to teach others during the Sport fishing boom on the Great Lakes.  I detoured in mid life and worked in the cable industry where I met Amy and soon got married.

Moving forward a few years, Amy is a public school teacher, I own a bar and grill and we have two children. Although Amy has sewn for over 30 years, the thought of doing marine canvas and upholstery is not even remotely on our radar. No, that would come shortly after a major blizzard hits our area.

Waking up that Sunday morning and peeking out the windows revealed 3ft. of snow blanketing our sidewalks and driveway. For me, it was the final straw. I was done shoveling tons of snow in 20 below temperatures. I needed to return to the warmth of Florida. Now, I just had to convince Amy.

Actually, that turned out to be easier than predicted. Our plan was simple. Sell everything, pack the van and hit the road. Three months later Wisconsin was in the rear view mirror and an uncertain future was ahead. It was very exciting.

Although We spent over a month exploring Florida and the places I had lived, We settled in Chiefland, partly because we owned property there from an inheritance, and mostly because Amy liked the small town, slow paced atmosphere. We still had no idea what we would do for a living but we had a little time. Amy was homeschooling the kids and she wanted something that could be done on our property. Well, that answer came in the form of a want ad. While Browsing thru a local paper someone had placed an ad for someone to fix the Bimini on their boat. And the Light Bulb flipped on! I had grown up on boats and new very well the use, function and installation of dodgers, biminis, convertible tops and the like. However I had no idea how to build them. I grabbed Amy and we headed to a local marina. Walking the docks I pointed out the various types of canvas products that were on different boats. As I scrutinized the  frames and installation techniques, Amy studied the fabrication of the canvas and upholstery. And it just clicked. Amy new from years of sewing and patterning clothing that the key to making these canvas item was in the patterning procedure and sewing order as well as the techniques.

We soon found out that there were no marine fabricators in our area although a couple of car and furniture upholsterers claimed they could. We discovered that not to be true. After doing some research we finally found the most amazing people in southern Florida at the Marine Training Institute. They taught Amy every aspect of the specific techniques for Marine Canvas Fabrication. We learned frame design, material selection and patterning techniques that are unique to the marine environment. After several months of training and building our shop, we felt ready.

I spent one day visiting every marina within a 50 mile radius, offering our services and leaving business cards. By the time I got home, Amy had already received several phone calls and our first job was sitting in our boat yard, ( which you can see below). And So for 12 years now we have been full time marine fabricators. We've done work for boats in Alaska, South America and many states. A lot of customers plan their vacation to Florida and bring their boat by, drop it off to have the work done and pick it up on their way home. We have even traveled to other states to do the estimates and work there. We currently have a customer bringing his boat from Louisiana for some major work before he continues to Key West. Our work has been displayed in Florida Sportsman magazine's dream boat section.

Because of Amy's incredible ability to pattern and prototype one of a kind items, we currently design and manufacture products for the outdoor industry that are sold at major retailers thru out the country.

Whether doing a simple seat cushion or designing and installing leather interior on a $250,000 yacht, we feel blessed to have found our calling. We love it all.....

More in this category: Gallery »

No Job Too Big