OGDEN -- Curt West has always enjoyed working with leather, so when the opportunity came up last year for him to buy a franchise of the Leather and Vinyl Doctor, he thought it would be a great thing, and it has been.
Since buying the franchise last summer, West has attended a special class where he has learned how to work with the different types of leather and vinyl used in furniture and cars. It's somewhat different from working with shoes or other smaller leather items, which is what he did before.
West and his family have been working hard, learning the ins and outs of the leather upholstering business and have been pleased with the results. His business, at 772 E. 5500 South, in South Ogden, does in-house repairs, but they will also come to homes for big repair jobs.
They do recoloring of leather and can fix tears or rips in leather or vinyl. They can also replace entire panels of leather in cars or in couches when necessary, and replace arm rests in couches and chairs.
Leather and Vinyl Doctor also does complete recovering of couches and chairs and has been doing not only residential repairs, but has been working with businesses and medical institutions as well.
While many problems can be fixed in the home or business, recoloring jobs are better done in the shop.
"We use spray guns, and it makes a big mess," West said.
When you have valuable and even heirloom items and replacement isn't an option, repairing a tear is the way to go. Some repairs start as low as $75 and go up from there. Regardless, a repair is less expensive than a replacement, West said.
Leather and Vinyl Doctor offers re-sewing and re-stitching services and often does it by hand. A special welding tool is used to weld the leather back together.
West also does some work with smaller items, such as jackets, but doesn't work with a lot of cloth. And the work is warrantied, as well.
West says he has enjoyed the challenge of learning this trade and refining his skills. Understanding the color-matching process, he says, turned out to be the most difficult part of the job. Sometimes it takes many different colors to achieve a really clean look.
West recently retired and thought this business would be a part-time job for him. It's definitely full-time, though, and he loves it.
"It can be pretty fun and challenging."