Blaine Penard bought The Restoration Station from the late Pat O’Neill, the founder and former president of Quail Creek Bank, in 2011. O’Neill started the company in 1991, and during his tenure, the focus was on furniture reupholstering. Penard has expanded the services to include furniture fabrication, cabinetry and commercial furniture refreshing, a move that has generated extraordinary growth.
“We’re the largest furniture restoration shop in the U.S. now,” Penard said. “We have 26 employees, and we work in upholstery, wood and steel.”
Penard completed his bachelor’s degree in entrepreneurship at the University of Oklahoma, and he started a few small companies — mostly sales — before purchasing The Restoration Station.
“I didn’t want to do an MBA, so I figured I’d buy this company and that would be my MBA program,” he said. “I’d never had any interest in woodworking, but the numbers looked good; and when I bought the company from Pat, he had 10 months of work on the books, making it an even more appealing prospect.”
Penard said the work is almost evenly split between commercial and residential projects, including what he calls “Instagram work.”
“Often people will want to keep a piece of furniture in the family for sentimental reasons, so we’ll get requests to refresh grandma’s dresser and paint it pink for a new baby in the family. That sort of thing,” he said.
His experts also tackle massive projects like the State Capitol building, where they restored and refinished desks and refreshed the Supreme Court dais, among other tasks. Penard said his company gets a few projects on historically significant items and buildings every year. At the scale he’s able to generate, most of his competitors are out-of-state companies, for whom the costs are much higher, giving The Restoration Station a decided advantage on local projects.
When Urban Farmhouse Design closed, Penard bought the metal fabrication equipment and brought it in-house, so The Restoration Station now makes custom furniture in addition to the restoration work. That also makes it easy for non-commercial customers to work with.
“There is a big blue button on our website for free quotes,” Penard said. “Just fill out a brief form with details like the object and desired outcome, and upload a couple of pictures, and our team will get back to you with an estimate. It’s that easy.”
All the work is done by Penard’s team; there is no outsourcing, so accountability and communication are easier and better — another advantage to The Restoration Station being locally owned and operated.