Custom Upholsterer, Cushion Fabricator
Joe Gramm, Owner of Cape Cod Upholstery
To make your furniture upholstery experience with me a worth while experience.
Where life and work experience meet !
At Age 12
My Resume starts working in Hull, MA, where I lived from age 7 to around 20. My first job, at age 12, was at Cumberland Farms in Hull during school Summer break. My sister Leona was the manager, and I stocked the shelves and coolers and assisted customers. At age 14, during school Summer break, I started working at the famous, and sometimes infamous, Paragon Park, also in Hull, MA. At Paragon Park I worked at the concession stands making burgers, hot dogs, fries and cotton candy. At that time, there was a pretty rough crowd that frequented Paragon Park. Motorcycle clubs, like the the Hells Angels and the Devils Disciples, were often there at night during the Summer. It was at Paragon Park in Hull where I learned the value of getting the order correct the first time, especially when a member from a notorious motorcycle club comes to the window to order or pick up their food!
My Resume starting out as an old fashioned upholsterers apprentice
My first upholstery employment, at age 16, was with Arthur Gaudreau of Hingham Upholstery, in Hingham, MA. My father and Arthur were good friends and fellow Hingham Rotary Club members. Arthur was looking for someone to work in the upholstery shop part time and I accepted the job. I started out as a classic old fashioned upholsterer’s apprentice. I learned how to pick up and deliver furniture, remove the old fabric from the furniture, tie springs and glue frames, eventually learning to work with the finished fabric and using an industrial sewing machine. I also observed how Arthur took care of his customers. It was a lot of fun working for Arthur. His wife, Dottie, was an incredible cook, baker and seamstress. Every day, Dottie would bring into the upholstery shop some sort of baked good and coffee for a snack. Arthur even let me occasionally drive his 1948 Ford F Series pickup truck. I still can’t believe he trusted me as a teenager with this beautiful truck.
At Hingham Upholstery, I worked with a semi-retired upholsterer, also named Joe. Arthur would have Joe come in part time specifically to make new horse hair seats for antique upholstered chairs. Joe was a master upholsterer at making horsehair seats, backs and mattresses. Joe was the last of the upholsterer’s I’ve met that spit tacks. A method of putting a bunch of tacks in your mouth and then grabbing them one by one with a magnetic hammer. I tried spitting tacks for a very short time, but quickly evolved to the pneumatic (air) staple gun. Joe also made model wooden boats, one of which I still have today.
Arthur wanted to sell the business and offered it to me first, the business and building which had an apartment above. I was 18 at the time and felt it was too much responsibility so Arthur sold Hingham Upholstery to a family friend and designer Gloria Barbuto. Arthur and Dottie moved to New Hampshire and then later to Maine. Gloria decided to contract the work out of the shop so I needed to find a new job. With the upholstery experience I learned from Hingham Upholstery I was readily able to find a new job. I continued for some time to do upholstery projects for Gloria in my workshop at home.
The Upholstery Shop in Cohasett, MA
My next employment was with Ann & Warren Sillcocks at The Upholstery Shop in Cohasett, MA. I was able to use all the skills I learned at Hingham Upholstery, but after the sudden tragic death of two of their upholsterers, I found myself in a crash course in Upholstery 101. This is when I started to develop my skills. Ann and Warren Sillcocks treated me great. It was my first and only job that came with benefits. They paid me a fair wage with health insurance and even vacation time. At that time I also did small jobs out of my home and started to develop the skills needed to run my own business. I don’t think Ann & Warren appreciated my working on my own. In some ways I could see their point of view, but I was doing upholstery jobs for family and friends of family. Work that would not have made it to them at the Upholstery Shop. And besides, good or bad, that is the way the upholstery industry works. Many many upholsterers start out in one place getting trained and then start their own business. In 1979 I moved to Florida to begin a new chapter in my Resume.
Sunny Sarasota Florida
I bought an established business with a store front called Ranes Upholstery, owned by Mark Ranes. Luckily, Mark Ranes stayed on for several months, because there was already a four month backlog when I took over the business. Here, my skills as upholsterer and shop owner came together. Sarasota is where I met my wife and partner Marge. She originally was from Rhode Island. Sarasota became more and more saturated with upholstery shops. There were literally 4-6 double sided Yellow Page ads for upholsterers making it difficult to earn a living. In 1984 I sold the business. We both embarked on a two month trip across the United States and Canada. After that trip, it was back home to New England.
Beautiful Cape Cod, MA
We eventually settled, at first, in Yarmouth Port, MA. We rented a wonderful cottage on Cape Cod Bay from Lee & Dory Marchildon. For several years we operated the business from a walk-out basement on the property. In 1989, Marge and I married. Our business was rapidly growing, so in 1990, we bought a piece of property in South Dennis where our home and business are presently located.
Computer Experience with Microsoft DOS
My Resume for computers starts with taking a computer class with Marge in 1982 at Sarasota High School in Florida. The computers were Tandy TRS 80s, that you had to write the code for before you could do anything on the computer. I decided writing code wasn’t for me. Shortly after, Marge and I moved back North to Cape Cod, and in 1986, bought an IBM compatible, Leading Edge DOS machine to do the accounting and Invoicing for the upholstery business. Also in 1986, I wish I had bought Microsoft stock, but, I didn’t.
Computer Experience with Apple
My Resume for Apple Computers starts with Apple Operating System 7, to OS 8, 9 and now macOS 12 Monterey. From Floppy Disk to DVD and now SSD drives. From 56K Dial-Up to cable and wireless networking. My first business website was built with Apple Homepage in 2001. Homepage was replaced with Apple iWeb in 2006 and I used iWeb as my website builder for many yeras before moving to WordPress. I use several of Apple’s gadgets like the iMac, iPhone, iPad, Apple TV and more.
My resume for website building starts with Apple Homepage around 2002. HomePage was a very basic drag & drop HTML editor. HomePage was an application for building your own website, hosted on Apple’s own servers. HomePage didn’t have the online presence like today. My Homepage website was published to the Internet, but I used it mostly to show customer photos of my work in the photo gallery as a reference, very much like I do today.
Then in 2006 Apple introduced iWeb. iWeb was not an upgrade to HomePage, but an incredibly powerful drag & drop HTML editor. A game changer. It came out around the same time when websites were really starting to create an online presence for business of all kinds. I was way ahead of all the upholstery shops on Cape Cod. Customers could search online for an upholsterer on Cape Cod and my website was at the top of the search results. And my website photo gallery became my type of personal reference page. Unfortunately Apple stopped supporting iWeb in 2012, but I continued to use for my business site Cape Cod Upholstery Shop, that is, until I found out about the WordPress website builder BoldGrid.
In 2018 It was hard for me to goodbye to my old and trusted friend iWeb, but now Cape Cod Upholstery Shop runs on WordPress BoldGrid. The great thing about BoldGrid is it creates responsive content. What that means is I build one website, but the content works seamlessly on Desktops, tablets and mobile phones. So it’s desktop and mobile friendly all at the same time. So as much as I’ll miss iWeb, BoldGrid is a much better experience for my customers because Google Analytics tells me 50% of my customers access my website via a desktop computer and the other 50% via mobile device.
In the past I have also built an upholstery blogging website as well as an upholstery support forum website. Both proved to be too time consuming, so now I simply have a blog page that is part of my Cape Cod Upholstery website. After all, I have furniture to upholster and cushions to fabricate!
Graduate of Hull High School in Hull, Ma Class of 1973.
After reading this resume, I hope you find my qualifications to be both entertaining and satisfactory.
For references about my upholstery work, please visit the link to my Photo Gallery
I like hanging out with my wife Marge and my daughters Molly, Ellie and Abby.
I’m into my third decade playing Ultimate Frisbee.
I like music, photography, living on Cape Cod, updating my website and doing the best possible job for my customers!