Gerry Altman grew up in Olean, New York and earned his teaching degree from Penn State University in 1967. During his youth, his family would go on weekend jaunts to garage sales and second hand stores, finding old furniture to restore and give them another life. This began Gerry’s love of restoring and repairing furniture. He went on to teach P.E., math and science for 20 years in the LA Unified School District. In the summers, he would go home to New York and pick up old pieces of furniture and bring them back to California to restore. Soon, other teachers and friends asked him to refurbish their pieces of furniture for them.
Gerry met Sandi at a Ski Club in 1985. They married in 1986 and moved to Sandi’s hometown, Portland, Oregon. While waiting for a teaching position to open, he started Gerry’s Custom Refinishing. As his reputation began to grow as a talented and honest craftsman, he learned that his passion for restoring furniture could be transferred from a hobby to a career.
Gerry’s Custom Refinishing quickly grew, with Gerry hiring students from the local high school’s home construction program. At one point, Gerry’s Custom Refinishing staffed 4 woodworkers.
Sandi Lampella grew up in Portland, Oregon. After studying art and psychology at Portland State University, she worked for 20 years at First Interstate Bank. In 1982, she was transferred to Los Angeles, where she met Gerry in a Ski Club.
Missing the Northwest, she transferred back to Portland in 1986, taking Gerry with her.
In 1991, when Gerry’s Custom Refinishing flourished, Sandi retired from the bank to help with the operations and marketing of the business. Soon, she began dabbling in the furniture and her artistic juices were let loose. Today, she is the color expert and works with all of the finishes, while she continues to spearhead the Marketing and Design Department.
Together, Gerry and Sandi owned and operated Gerry’s Custom Refinishing in Portland until 2009, when they decided to downsize and move to Scottsdale, Arizona. Since Sandi had become an integral part of the company, they changed their name to The Furniture Doctors, LLC. In February 2010, they opened their doors to new customers in Scottsdale. Gerry and Sandi form a great business partnership, with Gerry’s background in math and science, and Sandi’s artistic talents.