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Sarasota upholstery shop thrives with new business even during the pandemic

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Posted at 6:45 AM, Sep 06, 2022
and last updated 2022-09-06 08:35:17-04

SARASOTA, Fla.  — A lot of business owners struggled during the pandemic, but one business that is booming may surprise you.

Upholstery has been rocking and rolling for the last three years, and in Sarasota, Tepe Upholstery is seeing an influx of customers.

“It was thriving more than it has in 30 years during COVID which was shocking,” explained Katherine Teel, managing director of Tepe Upholstery.

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Tepe has roots in Indiana that go back to the 1920s. The Sarasota location has been around since the late 1970s and is now under new ownership.

The cheaper alternative to buying new furniture has perhaps never been more relevant. Inflation, cost of living increased, and changing spending habits is giving the industry new life.

“Just any kind interior of your living spaces, it’s there; everybody needs it,” said Teel. She added that not everybody can do it, so it is a very hard position to fill.

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Precision and efficiency are everything to this workshop. Teel said work is getting turned around for customers in about a month here, and they’ll take on just about anything.

“You have to stay busy. The willingness to take on business, whether it not just be upholstery but customized work,” explained Teel.

Teel said the turnaround time of about a month is pretty good.

ABC Action News called a couple of other local upholstery shops, and several sad it could be up to two months depending on the order.

Tepe Upholstery also has a fabric library, which doesn’t exist very often in many shops.