Jim Ortuno of Shoreham Upholstery in Shoreham, VT isn’t just an auto upholsterer, he’s an everything upholsterer — including cars, boats, airplanes, tractors, furniture, even doll houses and antique baby buggies. In fact, he boasts: “If it holds still long enough, I can upholster it.”
Seven Days, a local Vermont newspaper, recently profiled Ortuno — casting light on a shop that has successfully managed to be everything to everyone. For any trimmer that’s interested in doing the same, it’s a profile worth reading.
Here’s an excerpt from the piece:
His trade and craft is about more than just making things look pretty. Ortuno is part structural engineer and part artist, tasked with rebuilding furniture or automobile interiors from the inside out and then, yes, making them look good. His skill has won him fans all over the country, and the waiting time to get an item into his shop routinely runs two or three months.
Ortuno, a California native, got his start in upholstery at 16, working in the shop owned by his high school girlfriend’s father. “Cars are king in Los Angeles,” Ortuno says — and, fittingly, that business focused solely on auto upholstery. The after-school job turned into a summer gig during college, though Ortuno, a criminology student, didn’t intend to make upholstery his life’s work.
When he graduated during a hiring freeze and couldn’t find a job, he landed back at the upholstery shop in L.A. Seven years later, after opening a second branch of the business in the San Fernando Valley, Ortuno bought out his mentor. He was officially in business, and over the years his auto upholstery shop became so popular that he was booked as much as a year in advance. […]
After moving to Vermont, Ortuno set up his upholstery shop across the alley from the inn and branched out from auto work into furniture upholstery — he says the two are like “apples and oranges.” [read more]
To read more about Ortuno’s foray into furniture and other types of upholstery, check out “A Shoreham Upholsterer Puts the Bounce in the Seat.”
Tell us: Do you also run an upholstery shop that dabbles in everything? Is that a result of choice or circumstance? And how has not specializing in one type of upholstery affected your business?