The finishing touch
SOUTH TAMPA - If beauty in the eye of the beholder has tarnished with time, David A. Nores can visualize a fix. Since the 1920s, his family's South Tampa business has restored countless pieces of antique furniture and other heirlooms, including some previously undervalued by their owners. "He was going to give it away or throw it away," Nores said of an Eames lounge chair, a collectible piece once presented by an unwitting customer. "His kids were floppin' in it," Nores said of the comfortable 1950s American-made chair resembling modern recliners. Upon learning of its restored value of about $6,000, the owner had a change of heart, urging Nores to fix its supports and restore its color, long faded by sunlight.Properly restored, antiques are investments that retain their value, Nores said. David A. Nores Antiques & Restoration is a third-generation business. David's late grandfather, Urbain Nores, started it in 1925, operating from his dad's Hyde Park garage on South Dakota Avenue until moving operations to 3818 Santiago St. In the 1950s, Urbain Nores built a shop on South Manhattan Avenue, where his young grandson got his first taste of the family business. "They kinda brought me up in the business, groomed me for this," said Nores who, as a teen, earned spending money working in the shop with his grandfather and father, Donald Nores, now 83 and retired. After college, Nores "tried other stuff. But nothing seemed to really work for me," he said. He returned to the family business for a five-year apprenticeship, eventually taking over finishing techniques such as polishing and lacquer work. "We were taught by old European artisans my grandfather brought over," said Nores, 55. The business, at 1500 W. Platt St. since 1984, is sought out by local antique owners. "A lot of people from the Northeast come here to retire and bring their antiques with them," said Nores. "People want to preserve part of their heritage." That includes Dana Dunn. "When I moved here from Pennsylvania, I was terrified I'd never find anybody who could work on my stuff," said Dunn, who inherited a fair amount of 18th century American-made furniture. "I snooped around, and his was the only name that ever came up," she said. "He has done such fabulous work for me, I can't believe it." Calling Nores "a super craftsman," she lauds his "extremely reasonable prices" and solid advice about antiques. Now living in the Pass-a-Grille community of St. Pete Beach after a decade in South Tampa, Dunn still relies on Nores for repairs. Although attracting restoration and refinishing is relatively easy, finding skilled workers interested in the craft is not. And as Nores approaches retirement age, he wonders if the family torch will pass to a fourth generation. His young son, Dawson, has a passing interest in activities at the 3,000-square-foot shop he visits occasionally. But for now, at least, he shows more enthusiasm for basketball and going fishing with Dad. Interrupted while coloring pictures in the company office and asked if one day he would like to run the family business, Dawson gives the honest, if indecisive, answer of an 8-year-old: "I don't know." IF YOU GO WHAT: David A. Nores Antiques & Restoration WHERE: 1500 W. Platt St., Tampa WHEN: 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday TELEPHONE: (813) 254-4508 FAX: (813) 259-1538 E-MAIL: email@example.com
Reporter George Wilkens can be reached at (813) 259-7124.