Specialty Fabrics Review May 2019 - 46

"If a company is willing to invest in our
product, we in turn invest back into that
company and do all we can as a partner to
see that their business grows," says Bolt.
"Relationships are pivotal in this business
and we do all we can to foster them."
HANDS-ON LEARNING
BETTERS THE BOTTOM LINE
Fairwinds Canvas LLC is a one-stop
marine canvas shop providing an array of
services-such as custom-designed stainless
steel frames, full canvas enclosures,
interior and exterior upholstery, carpeting,
window coverings and accessories-
and also offers storage, cleaning and
reconditioning services, says Kathryn
Maisto, owner of the Racine, Wis.,
company. Company employees are trained

in project engineering, pattern design,
layout, fabrication and installation.
Then there is the Fairwinds Canvas
Training Center, designed to attract
students worldwide interested in opening
a marine canvas shop. The center offers
basic fundamentals for those with no
experience and advanced techniques for
business owners looking to enhance their
skills. A variety of workshops are offered,
ranging from those lasting three days up
to five, with fees varying accordingly. This
June, Maisto is launching a one- to fourmonth paid internship program designed
to give students hands-on learning and
mentoring. Potential interns/students
will be required to complete the Core
Fundamentals class and the Elite Power
Boat Enclosure Class offered by the
training center.
"A business must always invest in order to
grow," she says. "A paid internship program
is costly, but we're already experiencing
a return manifested in other ways than
monetary-networking and contacts are
very valuable to business growth."
Maisto says Fairwinds Canvas is always
adding new classes to the training center
to keep courses current and reviewing
potential services that could add to the
bottom line (all services bring in money).
"If someone looking in from the outside
sees the same thing constantly, it may be
a sign of a stagnant or tired business," she
explains. "To maintain proper structure, I
do things in a stepping-stone manner. This
allows me to implement enhanced ideas or
change what might not be effective."
Pamela Mills-Senn is a freelance writer
based in Long Beach, Calif.

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Specialty Fabrics Review May 2019

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