Editor’s note: This is one article of many Harvey County Now has printed on offbeat jobs.
By Wendy Nugent, Newton Now
NEWTON—Through his desire to spend more time with his children and a serendipitous event, Brian Loewen stitched together his own upholstery business, first in Meade and now in Newton.
“When my children were getting old enough to be involved in school activities, I started thinking about what would allow me flexibility to watch them participate in extracurricular activities and encourage them, since I was involved in a large farming operation that required long days for most of the year,” Loewen said. “It seemed obvious that I would need to start my own business.”
At the time, he knew an older couple who had an upholstery business and asked them what was involved.
“Well, it turned out they were looking to retire and looking for someone to purchase their equipment,” he said. “I bought what they had, set it up at our house and garage, took a correspondence course in upholstery (just basics) and launched a new career. Most of what I have learned in the trade is by doing it. Of course, this was all preceded by seeking God’s help, wisdom and provision.”
Loewen has been at his current location, 201 W. First St. in Newton since 2010. He also was located at 617 N. Meridian for two years and 15 years in Meade.
The business offers a variety of services, from repairing, reupholstering and restoring all kinds of furniture, vehicle interiors and boat and small aircraft interiors.
“We retail fabric, foam and other upholstery products,” Loewen said.
He said their biggest job was all the sanctuary pews at Meridian Baptist Church in Newton and the smallest was bicycle seat.
Loewen, the owner/operator of the business, believes they’ve had many customers happy with their work.
“Many satisfied customers with antique and contemporary furniture, auto interiors,” Loewen said. “Word of mouth is our best advertising.”
His wife, Della, and their three children used to help take projects apart, pulling out many staples.
“Della has recovered a number of furniture pieces, but now her involvement is primarily the bookkeeping, payroll and paying the bills,” he said. “Our children have all married and are successful in their employment—teaching, banking and video editing.”
Now that the kids are grown, Loewen has three part-time employees.
“Quite a few people have been employed here that have come and gone,” Loewen said.
Sometimes, they’ll pick up and deliver pieces of furniture and other items, and sometimes, it’s necessary to make estimates at a location.
The business’s closest customers come from Newton, while the furthest are from other states.
“I have connections with local aircraft repair stations, like Midwest Aircraft and Webco at Newton Airport and Midwest Malibu and Wells Aircraft in Hutchinson that have referred customers to me,” Loewen said. “So, it is not unusual to have them come from a distance, like New Mexico and Virginia, for example.”
The pandemic hasn’t hurt the business—it’s only helped it as the volume of work has increased. In addition, their average turnaround time is about five days, since items can take anywhere from one day to three weeks.
Loewen Upholstery hours are 8 a.m.-5 p.m., weekdays and by appointment on Saturdays.