A Brief History of The Lamp Repair Shop
This is Caractacus Potts. Remember him? He was the inventor played by the great Dick Van Dyke in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang back in 1968. It was Caractacus Potts who first inspired me to create a 'maker shop' after my first veiwing of that disturbing movie. Potts' ability to create unique inventions from the junk found around his ramshackled home was, to my young mind, remarkable. Now I could sit here and fib, saying it was more noble, more real people who inspired me: Leonardo Da Vinci, Thomas Edison, my Dad, but honestly, though these mentioned few were truly inspirational, Caractacus Potts really got me headed down the road to Makersville.
This is me in 1986, the earliest picture of my first mini repair shop called Irving Repair & Metalwork. This was when I finally got my act together and started gathering tools to not only repair but to create things in a hallway of a house on Irving Street.
I realized while working in a decorative hardware store in Portland, Maine that a lot of repair work was being turned away as either too difficult or not worth it. This hardware store had a wonderful workshop, and the owners gave me the opportunity to offer my services outside the business to help people with "impossible" repairs. My very first paying job as Irving Repair & Metalwork was a pewter ashtray with a Mac Truck bulldog that needed repair. The client was so happy someone could finally repair it she told her friends, and they told their friends, and so on, and so on.
By 1994 I was working out of a 200 square-foot room overlooking Route 1 in Thorton Heights, South Portland(right), and I was already creating fantastic, one-of-a-kind lights from found treasures. A feature story about those lamps made it into the local papers. From then on the waiting list for my services grew to several weeks, so I moved to a bigger place in Willard Square, SoPo.
The Willard Square Building was a great location for the business, but the business grew much faster than expected and I found myself running out of time and space. In 1999 the business was so popular my turn-around time was twelve weeks or more! Much too long for my liking.
With no desire to have employees to worry about, I split the business in two and handed the polishing business over to a friend as a separate entity. The lamp repair and custom lighting business continued under a new name: The Lamp Repair Shop. This was a much more appropriate name considering the type of business it was.
Still remaining very busy with an ever expanding clientel, the two businesses quickly out grew the Willard Square building we were sharing, thus we moved to our current, and hopefully final building, a 2,500 square foot flat space in the heart of Knightville in South Portland, Maine.
Today, over thirty years and 43,000 repairs later, The Lamp Repair Shop is still going strong offering our clients an old fashioned style of customer service. A place where you can talk to the owner, who will be doing the work, and you can expect your repair to be done right the first time with a guarantee to back it up. And while you are here visiting, you can check out the huge selection of restored, antique lighting as well as a nice collection of unique, hand crafted, quality built lamps.