Upholsterer helps revive furniture with new look and life

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Sometimes the hardest part about moving is getting rid of your furniture, especially if you have to get rid of the stains, too.

Sam Puga has worked for 45 years as an upholsterer.

"My own little world I guess. I'm down here, I live here you know. I'm here like 12 hours a day," he said of his work space.

Puga runs his furniture upholstery business from the basement of his house off Southwest Trafficway. It’s where the life of a couch or a chair can be extended another 50 years.

"I tell my customers, 'let me get my hands on it.' And sometimes I tell them, 'if you don't like it, you don't even have to pay me,'" said Puga.

He believes everything can be saved. Treasures can be restored, but it’s a hefty price to pay. One of the chairs costs $450 just for labor. Items not worth the investment can be donated to centers like the Salvation Army.

"We want something that's usable, something that's not overly stained. Not that if there's something on it that we won't take it," said Anthony Cottrell the Salvation Army store supervisor

Couches are marked  and displayed at the front of the store. If not sold within 30 days, it gets pushed back to the 'As-Is' section of the store. It's considered the the final destination for furniture with a little more wear and tear than others. It's the last ditch effort to sell items with major stains or missing pieces.

This fall, an upholsterer will come in to teach staff ways to save furniture. That way items in the warehouse have a better chance of getting sold.

"We wouldn't want to pass something on to you that's not useful to you," said Cottrell.

There’s hope in every piece of furniture. Puga says most items are overlooked because they're ugly, but the beauty is hidden underneath.

Salvation Army also picks up furniture for free. Call 1-800-SA-TRUCK or visit the website: www.kansascity.satruck.org

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