A match made in heaven: Shohola neighbors open custom upholstery shop in Milford

| 06 Aug 2015 | 08:45

By Anya Tikka
— “Apple Valley is a good location for us. Everybody’s great, it’s a beautiful, great little village to have lunch, take a walk, feed the ducks,” said Debi DeGiorgis, co-owner of Milford Custom Upholstery about the location of the newly opened business. DeGiorgis and Charles Coppolo opened the store that also functions as a workshop in May, and it’s been busy since then. “All work done on site. It’s exciting, we’re very passionate, so when people come in they want to do it with us,” she added.

It was a match made in heaven when Coppolo who once owned upholstery businesses in Staten Island moved next door to DeGiorgis in Shohola. They discovered they both had a passion for upholstery, and when the store space became available, they decided to go into business together, filling what they saw as a need in the area, because most upholsterers had either passed on or moved away from the area.

DeGiorgis’ whole family works alongside with her at the shop; son Michael helps with upholstery, and husband Greg does the furniture repairs, stripping the furniture to bare bones. “We all do the different components of the work,” she said smiling. Coppolo was out of town at the time The Pike County Courier visited the store, but he takes an active part in the business, too.

DeGiorgis showed work in progress in the backroom covered in fabrics, foam pieces, and other material used in upholstery. Pointing to a beautiful vintage armchair she was in the process of finishing, she said the chair had been stripped back to the wood, and then rebuilt.

DeGiorgis is a crafts person, and artiste who needs to take her time and space to come up with the finished creation. She explained, “I can’t work on the beautiful red chair when there are other dirty jobs in the shop. I need time alone. It’s craftsmanship. You have to sit alone with it.” She also said it can take time to come up with the best possible outcome.

Time frame varies according to the job, DeGiorgio pointed out. “Some orders can be very quick, while others take time. It all depends,” she said.

When customers come to the store, they often ask for recommendations, and the store carries a line of very affordable upholstery fabrics, as well as high-end, luxurious fabrics. Special finishes are often required in custom, extensive upholstery, and DeGiorgio offers her expert advice and suggestions at request.

Completely self-taught, she continued, “I started with horse carriage seats as a child. We built upholstered horse carriages as a child. My family was always very supportive of helping me and my siblings learn crafts. We had the materials around the house. The family always found a way to help us along. I started with my auntie’s antiques sewing machine, starting with Barbie doll clothes. My mom showed me a little.”

DeGiorgio continued, “The people are just coming in every day. It’s insane the way it’s picking up. Someone mentioned it to another. Every day we’re getting four or five big jobs, a chair, an ottoman, van cushions for outdoors, new covers.”

All fabrics available in the store are American made and warranteed for life, except for vinyl.

Store owners are open to hearing special requests or wishes from their clientele and go out of their way to help, finding items on the web, buying and finishing them, and then contacting the person who wanted them in the first place. “We can still sell it if they back down,” DeGiorgio laughed.

The pair mostly work on chairs, but anything that would need fabric can be done, including patches on motorcycle jackets and leather vests, foam cushion replacements and furniture repair.