Yancy Webster, 52, looks through a photo album of old cars and upholstery projects recorded through the years by owners of Dilbeck’s Canvas Shop, which was started in the early 1900s.
A business on the mend
hat happens when a boat cover or canvas tarp develops a tear or rip? If not repaired, the small slit starts flapping in the wind, the edges shred, and the cover is ruined. To the rescue is Yancy Webster, 52, owner of Dilbeck’s Canvas Shop, also known as Diversified Canvas. The business began as a harness repair shop about 100 years ago – so long ago that the original owner’s full name is lost to time. “Mr. Ike ran a harness repair shop in the 1900s for more than 4 decades in Paw Paw for farmers and their horses,” Webster said. “In the ’20s, when combines replaced horses, he repaired the combine canvas binders that carried the grain on conveyor belts into wagons.
Dilbeck’s Canvas Shop makes and repairs boat covers, awnings STORY & PHOTOS BY AVALYNDA CASEY FOR DIXON LIVING
Dilbeck’s Canvas Shop, 2123 W. Third St., Dixon, is open from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday, from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday, and from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday through Friday. Call 815-284-6868 to learn more. “He saw the future impact of machinery.” Clyde Meddle bought the shop in the ’60s and changed the name to Meddler’s Canvas Shop. He moved it to Mendota, stopped repairing harnesses and added tarp and awning repair. Jim and Carol Dilbeck bought him out in 1979. They added motorcycle and auto seats and convertible tops to the repair lineup. Webster was friends with the Dilbecks; they rode horses together.
Webster, who repaired his own tack and patched his own clothes, had learned to sew from his grandmother, 93-year-old Irene Peterson of Polo. She worked for Boyd Casket Factory in Dixon, sewing casket liners for 30 years, until it closed in the ’70s. The Dilbecks always were looking for good help, and people with a good work ethic, so Webster, then in high school, started working for them. Continued on page 23
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Dixon Living Summer 2016