Meet Joe Pagano of Sunshine Upholstery, Our Hometown Hero – Tarpon Springs, Florida 34689 | IT’s YOUR HOME Magazine – Trinity/Odessa
Share Joe Pagano, Sunshine Upholstery His father, Jerry, was an upholsterer. He learned his father’s trade as a young man, and continued to learn as he matured. He married his high school sweetheart, Edith, and as what happened to many young men at the time, Joseph Pagano was drafted to serve his country during the Viet Nam era in 1961. He had no choice, but that was OK.
Joe performed his basic training in Ft. Dix, New Jersey and attended Aviation Mechanical School at the base in Ft. Rucker, Alabama. “The best part was flying. I love to fly,” he shared. “I love to be in the air.”
Joe was doing something that he truly enjoyed, and when stationed in Kornwestheim, Stuttgart, Germany, he became a Crew Chief in charge of handling single-engine aircraft, specifically the L20-Beaver. “Sometimes when they’d go up, they’d let me sit in the co-pilot seat, and they’d let me fly,” Joe recalled.
Life was not always enjoyable, though, for he, or his young wife. When Edith traveled to Germany to live with Joe, there were few amenities. They had no hot water, no sink, no commode, no shower, no television, and no heat! Few had cars even though gas could be purchased for only $0.13 per gallon. Many chose bicycles as their primary mode of transportation there at that time. However, Joe managed to save enough to purchase a sporty little two-seater, 1961 Austin Healey, which he still remembers fondly to this day!
In 1964, as his service in the military was ending, Joe contemplated reenlisting with the Army. However, he considers himself “very lucky.” His Sergeant educated him about the terms of war, and told him he was headed to Viet Nam. By 1969-1970, 55,000 soldiers had already returned home injured or in a coffin draped with the American flag.
“I’m a patriotic guy,” Joe states, and “I’m proud that I wore an American uniform, but God was with me.”
Although he experienced challenges selling his sporty, two-seat Austin Healey when he returned home to Massapequa, NY, he and his wife were determined to start a family. They raised two boys–Joseph, Jr., and Dean–before they eventually divorced. Joe continued to work with his father in a business that spanned more than 50 years. He became a master upholsterer, and son, Dean chose to follow in his father’s footsteps, also becoming yet another master upholsterer in the Pagano family.
The two moved to Tarpon Springs 14 years ago, and work together each day at Sunshine Upholstery to make new, fresh and special what is old or out-dated. Dean explains his love of the family business, ”Making old stuff new again and turning junk into beautiful pieces of furniture, that’s satisfying. Then seeing the customers’ faces when they pick them up or we deliver them–that’s nice.
If the fabric is fading on your patio furniture or there are worn areas on your favorite easy chair, loveseat, or window seat, consider an update or a “facelift”. Sunshine Upholstery can provide new fabric and everything you need to make a positive change in your decor. If you have selected your own fabric, that works. The Paganos will pick-up and deliver free of charge. They will also provide free in-house estimates complete with fabric swatches from which to select that perfect color and style. It’s about providing excellent customer service, repeat and referral business that keeps Sunshine Upholstery alive and well in Tarpon Springs! You can contact Joe or Dean at Sunshine Upholstery by calling 727.938.7466. Or visit their shop at 425 N Pinellas Avenue in Tarpon Springs. [Four blocks south of the Sponge Docks]