There’s a unique and personal story behind every independent auto upholstery shop. Marine & Auto Custom Interiors in St. Croix Falls, Wisconsin, is no different. But unlike most shop’s, they do an amazing job of sharing their story with the public.
Shop owners Karl and Angel Gutha opened their upholstery shop with one goal in mind: To provide the best life possible for their five adopted children. It’s what drives their hard work and continued success.
It’s also what has endeared them to customers, who are able to contribute to the Gutha family’s heartwarming mission every time they take their boats or cars to the shop for repairs.
On Marine & Auto Custom Interiors’ website, Angel writes:
So frequently, we get asked, “How’d you guys get started in this business?”
The only way we really know how to answer that is, “it’s because of our kids.” We wanted to give them the best and brightest future we possibly could. Isn’t that what every parent wants in the end? The purpose of our business, why “we do what we do” has a story behind it and we’d love to share it with you.
Five years ago we decided to become foster parents. We wanted to give back to our community and have a part in helping families grow and reunify. Not long after every ‘i’ was dotted and each ‘t’ crossed we had a knock on our door. Two little children were dropped at our doorstep with everything they held dear in the world shoved into a duffle bag.
Later we came to learn they had more siblings. Two brothers and a sister. They’d been separated for close to two years.
As time went on for what seemed like forever we were given to opportunity to give all five children a place in our home and our hearts, permanently. So that is what we did.
We knew we had to make a promise to our kids. That promise was to give them whatever they needed to be successful. We couldn’t fail in the areas when every other adult had failed them previously. We had to make some big changes on their behalf. We celebrated birthdays, we went on vacations, we prayed together, we ate meals together, one parent quit the corporate world so someone would always be home to go to every school activity or sport. We did all the things parents are supposed to do. We taught them to love God, to love themselves and love those around them. But there came a point where we knew it wasn’t enough. We needed a bigger change.
So, we picked up and left our city life. We moved to the incredible countryside along the beautiful River Valley. We took all 5 kids out of public school and enrolled them privately so that we could meet each child’s needs individually, at home. We introduced them to new family and friends so that they could learn, and grow their relationships in a healthy way.
But we needed one more thing. A way to provide for them and teach them how to be valuable members of a community. We needed a business that we could make them a part of. So we embarked on another adventure and that is what you see here, today. Marine and Auto Custom Interiors is a business yes, but it serves a much larger purpose for us. It is a living, breathing example of perseverance, hard work and good work ethic, late nights and do overs, grace, understanding, patience, and the list goes on and on.
Our business is a way to give and secure a future for five children who weren’t sure what theirs would hold at one point. We invite each and every one of you to come and visit our shop. Meet our kids if you can get them to slow down long enough. Talk to them. Tell them you are glad they are here.
Now you know our purpose.
Marine & Auto Custom Interiors’ story is perhaps the best we’ve ever read on a trim shop’s website. Their decision to share it with the public is as courageous and inspirational as it is smart business. After all, it helps their shop stand out in a market full of greedy corporations and soulless franchises.
Most importantly, it shows the public that by patronizing a small family business, you can make a real difference in the lives of ordinary people.
Every upholstery shop has a story. Consider sharing yours as well.
Visit Marine & Auto Custom Interiors’ website and follow them on Facebook.
Mark Calkins says
Family first, nice
Angel Gutha says
Thank you Marc! We are so happy to be sharing an industry with so many talented and hard working individuals! Thank you for reading our story.
M&A Custom Interiors family
Pam Stratmoen says
I can see the love in everything Angel and Karl do. Amazing people, showing the community their story daily. They also do fantastic work.
Thanks for your kind words Pam. We are honored to be part of this community.