WATERFORD — Tom Daily, owner of Mago Point Canvas in Waterford, said business has been booming — so good that he’s looking for a new, bigger space to lease.
And Daily said he’s not alone – any business that has a connection to recreational activities, he said, whether it be boating, motorcycling or installing outdoor pools, has been doing well.
“Everybody I know in the boat business did great this year,” he said.
Because of the pandemic, Daily said, people who would normally spend two weeks in the summer going on vacation decided to find ways to enjoy themselves at home – like buying a boat or investing in the one they already owned.
Daily, who makes canvas boat covers, seat covers, covers for consoles and boat enclosures, estimates that he made 20 percent more this year than last.
He said that when the pandemic began, he was nervous; this was only his third year of business, and he didn’t feel completely established in the area. But once the shutdown began in March and April, people began contacting him. He was receiving requests all the way through November.
Daily said he has been working with canvas since he moved to Ohio in 2012, before that he spent over two decades living in Europe, studying, traveling and apprenticing as a stonemason. In Ohio, he enrolled in classes to learn how to work with canvas. Right after he finished the program, a hailstorm hit the area where he was living and damaged many of the boats. He found work within the week.
“I’ve always liked boats, I like being on boats. I like making nice things for boats,” he said. “I could care less about cars, so I don’t work on cars.”
He moved to Clinton in 2014 and began working at a canvas shop in Westbrook. Three years later, he opened his own shop in Waterford.
In his search for a new work space, Daily said he wants to remain in the Niantic-Waterford area, since he’s one of the only canvas shops there. He hopes to move into a new place by March or April.
Daily said that his upholstery work requires almost twice the amount of room he currently has, and he’s considering hiring someone to help, although he hasn’t decided on that for certain.
“I’m very, very fortunate to be in this position,” he said. “This summer was incredible.”