Graham & Sons was founded by Ron Graham in 1952, starting in a tin shed at the rear of a house on Hopper Street, Wellington. Ron grew the business and moved into bigger premises- the old brick stables, also behind the house. Eventually the business expanded into buying and using the front house, retaining the shed and stables for storage. Most of Ron’s family have worked for the business over the decades. Ron retired in 1983, with sons Chris and Rick taking over, then after Chris’s passing Rick relocated the business to Martinborough in 1988.
Today G&S is a partnership of three, operating from Martinborough, Wairarapa. The strength of the business has always been the people in partnership managing it. Rick, Neal and Renze all bring their own individual strengths, and still maintain Ron’s ideals and the family feel, with their partners and wives also involved in the business.
The youngest of four boys in the family, Rick had to wait until he was ten before he could start working for the upholstery business after school and in the holidays. Part time work continued through out college and varsity and in 1975 Rick joined Graham & Sons fulltime.
Rick brings 40 years of experience to the business and is skilled in all aspects of upholstery both contemporary and traditional.
Neal joined Graham & Sons in 2002 and specialises in leather sewing. Many of the sofas created for Thonet & Co are in heavy leathers, with the entire arms, seat and back all sewn into one large cover to be slipped onto the frame. There are no second chances with leather, one mistake and that piece is ruined- and the leather on one settee can often be worth more than $4000!
Neal joined as a shareholder/director in 2009.
Renze comes from a background as an artist working in the film industry, skills put to good use in furniture restoration, and is a graduate of Wellington’s School of Design.
He joined the partnership in 2015 after working at Graham & Sons for 2 years, and has a particular interest in designing and making new furniture.