Chicago furniture company continues family tradition
"The difference between that chair and the others was so great that I knew I wouldn't be content until the others were repaired," he says. "Leo's was careful not to even disturb the original label stenciled on the chair. I'll be using them for more furniture repair in the future."
Co-owner Frank Giordano calls this situation a common occurrence. "We try to treat the customers like family," he says. "We have some houses where we've done one piece, then another and another, and before you know it, the whole house is covered in furniture from Leo's."
Frank's father, Leo Giordano, learned to refinish and reupholster furniture in Italy. He then started to work out of his Chicago garage in the 1960s, and founded Leo's Furniture in 1972. Leo passed away in 1992, but his family continues to run the business after having grown up in the trade.
"We've had guys who have been here for 40 years and worked with my father," he says. "Experience really is the most important thing in this business. You need decades to learn all the different potential styles, pieces and finishes. You need a good imagination to look at something that might be really beat up and come to you in boxes, and be able to envision what it looked like new."
The company focuses primarily on residential furniture repair, refinishing and upholstery, as well as custom furniture building, but their experience reflects a wide array of projects. Leo's workers have installed 1950s-style restaurant booths in basements and refinished a 16th-century French sofa. "I've had people pick furniture from the garbage, and we completely restore it and it's better than anything you'll get in a store," he says. "Everything's unique and has a story behind it."