Nestled in between Team Blonde and Epyk Luxury Boutique, a new shop opened up amid the COVID-19 pandemic. In March, Slipcover Plus, 7444 Madison Street, moved locations from Oak Park, where the store had been since 1980.
Owned by Anthony Menconi, the business focuses on custom work, including slipcovers, upholstery, window treatments, wood refinishing and even custom furniture, built from the frame up.
Menconi’s father Larry started in the slipcover business over 50 years ago, opening a shop in Oak Park in 1980.
“We were known as the place next to One Stop Comic,” said Menconi. At the time, still a student, he helped out in the store on weekends. After working at the mercantile exchange for a few years, his dad said to him, “It’s time for you to learn the business.” Menconi was 20 at the time.
In the beginning, his father’s focus was on plastic slipcovers, but he added upholstery to the business. In 2010 his father retired, and Menconi took over. Plastic is no longer a thing, and now the focus is on a custom look and feel from a wide selection of fabrics offered by the store.
“We’ve been in the business for so many years that we have more fabrics than most fabric stores,” said Menconi. And working with fabric companies for so long has allowed Menconi to establish strong relationship with them, thus providing him the ability to offer customers lower prices than other similar companies.
“Our fabric starts at $20 a yard,” Menconi said. Their goal, he said, is to be as affordable as possible with the best product possible, a balance between quality and affordability.
The process for upholstering a couch, say, involves either an in-home visit or a customer sending photos and measurements to Menconi via email. The shop schedules a time for the customers to come to the showroom to look at fabrics, although that can be done at home as well.
Unlike a lot of other similar businesses, Slipcover Plus has a price sheet with established estimates for projects, the quote based on the size of the project and the desired fabric.
“So there’s no sizing up,” said Menconi. “We don’t give a higher price to someone who shows up in a Mercedes.”
The fabric usually takes about three to seven days to come in, the store picks up the furniture from the customer’s home, and the refinished custom product is available within a two to four-week window.
What’s unusual about Slipcover Plus is that their showroom and workroom are together, both housed in the Forest Park location on Madison Street, although Menconi’s opened a showroom in Addison as well.
Growing up in the area, he’s been familiar with Forest Park for most of his life, and he said this location “feels right.”
“I love this block, this area,” said Menconi. “The vibe is great.” He enjoys the restaurants, likes seeing people eating outside, even if the crowds have shrunk lately because of the pandemic.
COVID-19 affected his business when it first opened; within a month of his March relocation to Forest Park, the pandemic caused a temporary shut-down. And even now, he runs his business by appointment only instead of always being open, which he was previously. But it allows him to be more concentrated, providing more focused service to each customer.
Additionally, his designers do in-home consultations, safely, of course.
“Our designers wear masks in the shop and when they’re visiting people’s homes,” said Menconi. “And our delivery guys wear masks, and we always have hand sanitizer available.”
Slipcover Plus has customers as far away as Indiana, and Menconi said he’s doing a delivery to Lake Geneva this week.