Peter Crupi used to love watching his mother sew. When he was 16 years-old, he went to the dollar store in Bolton and bought everything he needed to make a small carrying case. What he couldn’t find at the store he improvised with at home. “That was probably the best part. I made the handle frame and case out of coat hangers. They all used to be made out of wood back then,” he recalls.
When he was growing up, Peter’s dad used to sell textiles out of the back of a station wagon. Back then, it was a booming business. By 1986, times had changed. People preferred to buy things from a store. So, he and his sons found a great location in Nobleton, just east of Highway 27 on King Road. The trio bought the entire building with the idea of operating a department store, leasing out a few units to other businesses.
As time went on, Peter and his wife Teresa took full ownership. At first, they sold shoes, gifts, textiles and drapery. Gradually the shoes and gifts disappeared and Crupi’s focused entirely on window coverings. The store became a Hunter Douglas dealer, and Peter discovered how much he enjoys executing complex installations. Teresa, a trained dressmaker, took over most of the drapery sewing.
When he could, Peter would go next door to explore the upholstery shop. He was enthralled by the work. After that company relocated, he decided to incorporate upholstery into his business, to keep the service available in the community.
Without prior experience, Peter knew he needed help. As luck would have it, a gentleman recently arrived in the country from Lebanon who ran a successful upholstery business back home. With no interest in starting from scratch, in a new country, he happily lent his talents toward building Crupi’s success. “That’s how we made the business here: from him,” remembers Teresa. “He knew how to start the job, cut, sew and finish the fabric… and the speed,” agrees Peter.
Their new employee turned out to be reliable, patient, produced clean work, and generously mentored Peter as he learned the craft.
Crupi Interiors carries the latest textile fashions and blinds but, they continue to rely on machines that have stood the test of time. “Once you know what a sewing machine does, figure out how it functions, it’s mechanical,” explains Peter. “I’ve been told that I’m patient. Once you work with a machine, you learn what it can do. If it takes two hours to sit and finish it, then you sit there for two hours.” Some of Crupi’s machines date back to the turn of the last century. “The other machines we have down there, we bought for $40. Pretty much everything you see in here we built. Peter even made his foam cutter out of a skill saw,” adds Teresa.
To this day, it’s the challenging projects that get Peter most excited. “I love to do the complicated stuff that nobody tackles and nobody wants to do,” he says with a gleam in his eye. That’s good news for anybody losing sleep over that particular window in their home. One person’s insomnia is another man’s utopia. It’s all about finding the right balance.