Small Florence business has great potential


Staff writer

From the outside it looks like a trinket shop. But walk in the door at 410 Main, Florence, and you'll be surprised to find something far different.

There are high ceilings and bright red and yellow walls. And you'll probably find owner Peggy Chappelle working on some type of furniture. "I didn't want a place like everyone else's, I wanted it light, bright, and reflective," said Chappelle of her shop.

Since October 2007, Chappelle has been living and working at J.J.'s, an upholstery shop. After purchasing the building from Rick and Vickie Turner, Chappelle moved into the upstairs apartment and brought her business with her to the downstairs area.

"The whole town helped me move down here. It took about an hour and a half. Ever since we moved in things have been going pretty smooth," she said.

Chappelle, originally from Wamego, has lived in the Florence area for the past 25 years. After losing her husband two and a half years ago she decided to sell her house and move downtown. "I couldn't keep the house. It was either move down here or leave town. It's [the building] got great potential."

In 1985, her husband was able to retire but they knew they had to do something else. For the past 23 years Chappelle has stayed busy working out of her home.

Chappelle stays pretty busy and usually has a waiting list. She said a lot of her customers are repeat customers, which says a lot about her business.

"I try to work with people but I don't work well under pressure. I try to be honest. I don't say I will have it done by a certain date but if they call and ask about the status I'll tell them if I haven't started yet."

Chappelle can do anything anyone asks. She has done lawn seats, four-wheelers, motorcycles, horse pads, antiques, boats, furniture, and they are getting ready to do airplane seats.

Sandy Harper helps Chappelle in the shop. She has been Chappelle's helper, off and on, for the past four years.

Chappelle said, "Sandy doesn't sew but she's real good at taking it apart."

Harper said, "I think there's been a little bit of everything come through."

Both women agree that the most rewarding part of working with upholstery is seeing the finished result.

Harper said, "It's neat to see new stuff on it [the furniture]. It changes the whole look."

Chappelle said, "I'm not real good with housework because you do it again and again. But with this, when you're done you're done. It's neat to see the transformation."

A wall-hanging in Chappelle's shop sums up her philosophy about her work: "Be reasonable. Do it my way."

She said, "There's really no wrong or right way. It's my way."

Chappelle is in the shop from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Thursday. She said they try to take Fridays off but it doesn't always work. If Chappelle isn't in the shop between those hours, she is probably out giving estimates or delivering furniture. She can be reached at (620) 878-4691.