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When you first meet the Levins family it doesn’t take long to figure out that they take an enormous amount of pride in being a family owned business. As we gather up to talk about their businesses around the  small wooden table located at the Sterling Upholstery store, the Levins always manage to make me feel like you are part of their family. Blake, Ulrike and their son Matty are close knit, but when talking about their businesses, it’s all business.


Blake Levins was born & raised in Spirit River, leaving the area in 1970 to find work in the Yukon. He worked several jobs & eventually landed at Canada’s Packers. It was in the Yukon where he met his hard working wife Ulrike through the Yukon meat & Sausage Company, a wholesale business that was owned by Ulrike’s parents.


In 1981 the opportunity came to purchase the family business. “After running it for some time, we found the business was very cyclical in the Yukon due the seasons, & we were looking for a more stable economy to have a business, ”explains Blake.

Eventually Blake’s sister who was in Grande Prairie approached the couple to become 50/50 partners in Sterling Upholstery, in which they did in 1996. “Sterling Upholstery was an already established for well over 20 years at that time, but was in an economy that was very appealing & completely different from what we had been doing.


We decided we needed a change, had a chance to move to where I grew up, & we had to take a chance. We learned as we went & became better owners because of it!” states proudly. Currently they have grown to be one of the largest Upholstery shops north of Edmonton, serving customers as far as North West Territories, providing a wide range of upholstery services covering everything from boat covers to oil related type industrial pieces. “If it’s got fabric we can pretty much re-do it, doesn’t matter what it is” says their son Matty.









The history behind the

Levins business journey

After seventeen years of being in a partnership, in December 2012 Blake & Ulrike bought the other half of the company out, taking the business over completely. In March 2013 of the year, they recruited their son Matty who begun to sub-contract for the upholstery business. In addition, in April he opened a new bicycle repair & parts shop. Redbeard Cycle Repair, which operates upstairs out of the same location as Sterling Upholstery. “It’s a good fit as it (bike repair) is a seasonal business, “says Matty. The 29 year old entrepreneur has had a dream to start his business for well over ten years, growing his experience & training during that period. Some of his experience working in the bike industry in Southern BC, & being the service manager for five years at Forward bike & board- a local Grande Prairie company. In addition, he has taken courses in Oregon from the United Bicycle Institute, although admitting a lot of his vast experience comes from “hands-on” learning, no different than the upholstery business.


“The opportunity presented itself & timing was right to start” says Matty. “By working together we can

grow the space size, increase the number of employees we have, & continue to offer quality services,

“says Ulrike,” both business are built on service, quality, & custom work. This family has a 200 year

long history of being in business.” There is no doubt that they will not be breaking the family tradition

any time soon, & clearly they are meant to be in business for many more generations to come.

Sterling Upholstery © 2013 Website: belovedbydesign