My name is Dennis Locke. I own and operate Payne's Upholstery.
The business began as "Hunt County Mattress & Upholstery" in the early 50's.
My grandparents took over the business in 1960.
By the early 70's, the mattress end of the business had gone the way of the dinosaur, and the name was changed to Little's Upholstery (named after my Grandmother). When my Grandmother retired, my Mother, now re-married, changed it to it's present-day name.
I have worked in the family business since childhood. I came into it full-time in 1984, and took the business over in 1997, when my mother passed away.
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My mortal enemy
*Served with humor.
Sounds strange coming from me? After all I am a red-blooded American male. I scratch. I spit. I leave the seat up. And I laugh at "The 3 Stooges". So when a married couple enters my shop, the husband and I share a kindred spirit. BUT make no mistake! I know who butters my bread. It's the house spouse who cares about the furniture. The crude dude would just as soon duct tape a blanket over some strategically placed wooden crates, and call it a couch. BUT a hole in his golf cart, or boat seat would have to be dealt with immediately. The future of western civilization hangs in the balance!
When I meet a customer in the grocery store, the wife will introduce me to her husband as "the man who covered our couch". The husband will extend his right arm for a hearty handshake. I can see the wheels turning in his head. I know what the next words out of his mouth will be. "Do you do cars"? I respond with "No, I only do furniture". Suddenly, I feel his grip loosening. He is ready to abort our encounter in mid-shake. He has no further use for me, and doesn't really understand why I find the motivation to continue my pathetic existence.
When the young couple in their 20's come in, the husband is gung-ho, and ready to help his new bride with every decision that life brings their way. This includes selecting fabric for their sofa. After about an hour, he's so beaten down by the whole process that he snaps at her, "Oh for crying out loud! Just pick something and let's go!" Her eyes well up with tears. She pulls out her cell phone to call her mother, and tell her that she was right about him after all. He realizes that he has just made a tactical error. He should have put more thought into the fabric that would be covering their sofa (since that's where he'll be residing for the foreseeable future). She storms out, with him trailing behind, like a scolded puppy.
In his 30's, this time he has a plan! He will pretend to actually care about the choice of fabric. The wife immediately sees right through his thinly veiled attempt to expedite the selection process, and again they leave the store barely speaking to each other.
By the time the couple has reached their 40's, they have both mellowed. She realizes now that he just doesn't give a fat rat. As a courtesy, she will ask for his input. But he's too busy drooling over my air tools (desperately yearning to play with them). He is entranced by the KA-POW, KA-POW sound of my air stapler. He marvels at the raw power that it surely must possess. I don't have the heart to tell him that it wouldn't penetrate skin from a distance greater than 3 inches. They have an unstated agreement between them. He won't ask how much the sofa costs, if she doesn't bring up the fact his new golf clubs have seriously de-railed the kid's chances for a college education.
The 50-something husband is all about reading the specs on the back of the sample book. After all, this is positively the LAST TIME the sofa will need to be covered!
My favorite husband is the one in his 60's. He doesn't even get out of the car. He'll sit there all day, even if it's 100 degrees outside!
The saddest of all is the man in his 70's, who comes in alone. He doesn't know what to pick out. He just wants something that she would've liked. As we make our deal, and shake hands, he flashes a sad smile, wishing he could go through that hellish nightmare of looking through sample books with her just once more.
So come on guys, buck up. Come in with the missus, and plan on spending about an hour (it'll seem like 3). If you behave, who knows? I might let you play with my tools!!!!