In 1979 my stepmother, Linda Henry (Fletcher), bought a little shop on Asher road in Rutland called Valley Canvas and Awning. I didn’t know her then but as fate would have it in a few years later I would. In 1982 Linda moved the shop to Springfield road where she had much of her family working with her. Connie Brummet, Linda’s daughter, did the custom sewing and was very talented.
In 1989, I came aboard and Connie took me under her wing and taught me ho
w to sew, I soon found out I really enjoyed custom sewing. In the meantime my uncle Steve Klassen left the construction trade and began working for Linda, skinning and installing awnings. It was a family affair and we learned a lot about the trade in all it’s aspects.
Steve and I had just begun our new careers but Linda decided to change
direction and put the shop up for sale. The new owners were completely green so it really gave Steve and I the opportunity to expand our knowledge while teaching the new owners. After a few years the shop once again went up for sale, I stayed on Steve did not.
Once again I was dealing with new owners and in the meantime Steve had become partners at the competition Artistic Awning. I gave him one year to settle in then began begging him for a job, thank goodness his partner, Tom, was such a nice guy and agreed to hire me.
For the next 14 years we had a great time working together with each other. We learned a lot about customer service and found our niche in the market but as all good things must come to an end so did this. Tom retired and Steve moved on leaving me to ponder my future. I have always lived on the Westside so I decided it was time to write my own chapter and start up a canvas and awning shop close to home. We may have opened a new shop but we certainly are not new to the business.