Dick Streever – The Renovation/Restoration Man Fibrenew of Wilkes-Barre/Scranton

By: Clare Parkhurst of InSide The Back Mountain

My first meeting with Dick Streever is very memorable for me. Our meeting came about after he phoned me with questions about InSide the Back Mountain magazine. He had received InSide in his Shavertown mailbox and was curious about how our magazine could benefit his business. Our first meeting was early last fall at his business located in Swoyersville.

More than writing about the people, the businesses and the “going’s on” in The Back Mountain, what I find most rewarding is really getting to know about how people arrived here, why they came here and what they find so appealing about our community. That conversational process is the best thing about what I do. I love getting to know new people and their stories. Dick Streever’s story is a special one.

Dick is a quiet man but certainly not one reluctant to share his story. Dick and I are contemporaries…. baby boomers. We share a lot of the same opinions like the old comments from grandparents and parents who have always claimed, “This new generation is just not the same”. Our conversation interestingly started by talking about what we both call “the disposable generation”. John C. O’Keefe from Creative Commons describes this so well in his blog: “Recently we had an issue with our coffee maker. It refused to make coffee – and, generally speaking, for a coffee maker that’s not a good thing. So, I did what all dutiful husbands would do to keep their wives from destroying the house: I contacted the company in hopes of sending it back to them for repairs. The company was quick to offer us a new one, sent to us at no charge. I thought, ‘Ok, we will send back the old one, they will fix it and sell it online as refurbished.’ When I asked what to do with the broken one, I was told, ‘Toss it out – it’s broken.’ Unfortunately, this is nothing new, we live in a disposable culture, a culture where tossing something away when it breaks is easier, and often cheaper, than it is to get it fixed. TV breaks, get a new one; fan breaks, get a new one; coffee maker breaks, get a new one. Disposable lighters, computers, cell phones, radios – you name it, it’s made to be tossed away, and not repaired – we have moved from a ‘repair culture’, to a ‘consumer culture’. If it is broken, toss it out.”

Fortunately, in The Back Mountain and the rest of the country there are more and more of us who appreciate the value and the quality of fine furnishings. There are those furnishings, “the old stuff”, purchased by our great grandparents, grandparents and parents 35 – 100 + years ago. If you have or find one of these great pieces from the past, you need to rethink about tossing them. Dick Streever’s business, Fibrenew of Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, specializes in the repair, restoration and renewal of leather, plastic, vinyl, fabric and upholstery servicing six major markets. They include automotive, aviation, commercial, medical, marine and residential. I’ve seen the results of his restorations and they are amazing. Just think about that old leather chair or couch in your grandparent’s home that you and your family tossed. You thought, “It was gorgeous 40 years ago, but I don’t want it, so my kids won’t.” Well, maybe it’s time to think again. Replacing that top grain leather furniture for the same quality leather today is astronomically expensive. It’s amazing what processes are available to restore those relics you thought were destined for the Salvation Army. Dick Streever and Fibrenew of Wilkes-Barre/Scranton are able to make those restorations easy and affordable.

Here is what I learned about “leather”: Leather furniture with a mineral based dye does not come from top grain and is usually made from split hides. Split hides are coarser and stiffer and tend to crack more easily. Unlike fine top grain, split hides may have a life of about 5 years.

The finest of leather or top grain is called analine leather. Aniline leather is a type of leather dyed exclusively with soluble dyes without covering the surface with a topcoat paint or insoluble pigments. Top grain reveals the natural imperfections of hide. It is soft and supple but also susceptible to sunlight damage. Top grain leather furniture can, however, with proper care last for generations.

Fibrenew, founded in 1985 in Toronto, Canada, sold its first franchise to Michael Wilson who is now Fibrenew’s CEO. In thirty years, they have grown to 230 franchises and are now in five countries. Dick Streever saw the opportunity offered by this company and, luckily for us in The Back Mountain, he’s here and his services are available to us!

Dick Streever, owner of Fibrenew Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, is originally from the Finger Lakes in New York State. Before he owned Fibrenew, Dick was in the golf cart business. For nine years he was at one time the largest EZ-GO golf cart dealer in Southern Colorado. He wanted to come back east, however, and in 2004 sold his Colorado business. He moved back to the Finger Lake region and in 2011 became a Fibrenew franchise owner servicing the Finger Lake Region. In May of 2013, Dick met the love of his life, Mary Pikul of Shavertown. Mary was a resident of the Back Mountain all of her life. Their courtship was a long distance one for many months. Dick continued to run his new Fibrenew franchise in New York State but drove to The Back Mountain to visit Mary on a regular basis.

When I asked Dick, “Why Fibrenew?” he responded with no hesitation. He explained that the service Fibrenew provided both him as a franchise owner, and, more importantly his customers, was first rate. This restoration franchise, Fibrenew, is a mobile service and offers more than services in home leather furniture restoration. They are also experts in the repair and restoration of plastic, vinyl, fabric and upholstery for many applications and markets for residential and commercial clients. They are specialists who can show you amazing results with just about any residential or commercial leather surface.

There is another reason Dick Streever so appreciates his association with Fibrenew. Dick explained, “The Fibrenew family is so completely supportive of their franchise owners from not only a financial and business perspective, but they are also supportive from a personal perspective.” Dick and Mary continued their long distance relationship while Dick managed his Fibrenew franchise in New York State. In early 2014, Mary was diagnosed with ALS. Dick travelled regularly to be with Mary during this devastating time. In July of 2014, he moved to The Back Mountain to be with Mary and to assist her with all she needed while struggling with this debilitating disease. In late September of 2014, Mary lost her battle with ALS. Dick was at her side.

On a positive note, Dick Streever planted himself in Northeastern Pennsylvania and owns a business here…because of Mary. Fibrenew of Wilkes-Barre/Scranton is his business and he sees growth every month. Dick, we all welcome you to Northeastern Pennsylvania. We are happy to call you our friend and we, the residents of The Back Mountain, will continue to support you.

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FIBRENEW CUSTOMER REVIEWS

5 Stars
“Josh was very professional and helpful from the start. He patiently answered my many questions, and worked with our schedule for the repairs. We are so impressed with the results on our couches and chair. Our 15 year old leather furniture looks new again! Would highly recommend to anyone considering Fibrenew.”
- Sue S. - Elk Run Heights, IA

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