Recreating memories

Donna Grossman stands in her workspace of Uptown Chair. Grossman has been reupholstering chairs for over a year now.

Recreating treasured memories has started to become a calling for some, as history and preservation of treasured items have begun to take a back seat in society. For one Sigourney woman, the missions to preserve furniture and the memories the pieces share have become intertwined together in her business.

Donna Grossman, owner at Uptown Chair, found herself in awe as she visited antique shows and found items for sale that looked as if they had a story.

“I love old furniture. Going to these auctions, people will sell something for $5. Only in Iowa would people sell some of the things that they sell for $5,” Grossman said. “I just felt like I’ve got to save all the chairs,” she remarked, tongue in cheek.

Grossman started her upholstery business little more than a year ago, emphasizing that her draw to the business came as a result of a desire to rehab discarded antique items.

“I think what drew me to doing this, especially in Iowa, there’s so many people with antiques that people just discard because the upholstery is ruined, and they think it’s shot when in fact … no matter how bad the upholstery is, it can always be brought back. It just comes down to the frame, and then I build it back up,” she said. “It’s just sad to see people give up on the history and memories,”

Grossman reflected.

Grossman said that the process for rehabbing an item can vary, based on what truly needs to be done to restore the item to excellent condition. She said that fixing a chair where “the springs are shot” can be as simple as replacing twine that ties springs in place. The true condition of the item is what matters.

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