STEVE Groom hadn't held down a job for more than four years when he bought an upholstery store in Nambour in 1986.
"I thought if we lasted 6 years I'd be doing well,” he said. "But here we are 30 years later, still going strong.”
He had been a salesman, moving to Nambour to take up a position with the South East Queensland Electricity Board (now Energex) and later working with Retrovision.
But the work dried up, and he and his wife decided to try their hand at running a business.
Nambour Upholstery cost them $25,000.
Mr Groom said he felt keeping the shop open that long was "a bit of an achievement in little old Nambour”.
It survived a fire at its first shop in Howard St, eventually being pushed out by the Woolworths plaza development, which promoted its move to Coronation Ave.
The local community had been very supportive, Mr Groom said, but he could never have relied on locals alone to survive, instead building a reputation for high-end furniture restoration from antiques to modern furniture that has seen people travel from as far as Brisbane for his services.
Commercial clients were also increasingly important, he said, with jobs including seating refits at airport and other corporate furniture.
These days people expected cheap furniture and didn't easily fork out to fix old favourites. Most of Nambour Upholstery's customers are over the age of 40.
"When people come to inquire about upholstery...some are pleasantly surprised at the price, others are shocked - because you can always go out and get new furniture for cheaper price than you can get an old one upholstered,” Mr Groom said.
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