They met in Lisa’s hometown of Seattle in early 1987 after Chuck moved there from Maui.
“I was actually chasing another woman,” laughed Chuck. “But seriously, I was also following a career in broadcast radio.”
“When we met, Chuck was teaching at a radio broadcasting school where I was a student,” Lisa said. “He called me one afternoon and asked me if I wanted to go to Maui for a couple of weeks. How could I say no?”
Located behind Blackie’s Pit Stop off the Pi‘ilani Highway in Kīhei, Island Window Coverings & Upholstery is open weekdays and on Saturdays by appointment.
“I just fell in love with Maui,” she said.
Chuck realized he really wanted to return to the islands where he had worked part-time for local station KHEI while working full-time for Lahaina Upholstery.
When they arrived, Lisa got a job with Alamo Rental Car and Chuck began working for KNUI radio in Kahului.
By February 1988, Chuck and Lisa opened their first upholstery business, Pacific Upholstery.
“I didn’t have a clue what I was getting into,” said Lisa. “I thought I had married a radio guy. But I soon discovered I really liked the business and was quite good at it.”
“Our first location was out of the garage of a house we were renting,” Lisa added. “The business began doing so well that within four months I was able to quit my other job and we moved from the garage to a shop in the Kahului Industrial Center.”
“And to think I flunked sewing in high school,” Lisa laughed. “Absolutely everything I’ve learned about upholstery, I learned from Chuck.”
And what a great teacher he has been. Not only do they count among their clients condo and homeowners, Realtors, property managers and other local businesses, but hotels as well.
“We’ve been the exclusive upholsterers for the Four Seasons Resorts’ Lodge At Koele and Manele Bay Hotel on Läna‘i for the past 15 years,” Lisa said.
Three years ago, they purchased and moved into their current location in the Kīhei Commercial Center at 300 Ohukai Road (behind Blackie’s Pit Stop on Pi‘ilani Highway).
“It was a gutsy thing to do given the economy,” Lisa said. “But as it turned out, it was the best decision we ever made.”
And a visit to their showroom proves that it was. For those of us who love home decorating, it’s a real treat. Books of fabric samples for upholstery and window coverings fill shelves and counters. Window treatment displays line the walls.
They have a huge selection of fabric samples and materials to choose from, including lines manufactured by Robert Allen, Fabricut, JF Fabrics, Westgate, Norbar and Kravet.
Among the window coverings they carry are Hunter Douglas, Hartmann & Forbes, Graber, Horizons, Scandia and Kathy Ireland.
“We are really focused on window coverings, including blinds, shades and shutters,” Chuck said, adding a quote from one of their mentors. “Do one thing and do it well.”
“We take that to heart and Lisa really knows the products,” Chuck said. “She’s like Scotty on Star Trek. She devours the product manuals,” he laughed.
“There have been so many innovations in window coverings, it is really necessary to keep up, and I like discovering what is new,” Lisa added.
During our interview, there wasn’t a question I asked about upholstery and window coverings that Lisa didn’t answer with up-beat confidence.
“What we believe sets us apart is that when you shop at Island Window Coverings & Upholstery you get more than just product,” Lisa said. “You also receive personalized service, 25-plus years of experience and expertise, and follow-through.”
“And the customer’s needs always come first,” Chuck said. “Lisa has really good design sense and can always find the right product to complement any space.”
And every order is custom, nothing is ready-made and they offer options for every budget.
You really do get what you pay for, and having the level of professional experience Chuck and Lisa provide can be very reassuring to a homeowner. In fact, it is so reassuring that after our interview, I asked Lisa to help me with a project of my own!