After 75 years, curtain comes down on Meitzner Drapery

Over the past few years, Paul Meitzner has been repeatedly asked when he is going to retire.

Meitzner, 83, is reluctantly doing so this week.

The owner of Meitzner Drapery & Upholstering, 2214 E. Douglas, has closed the business that his father started in 1935.

Meitzner said his failing health is the big reason behind the decision.

"It was just a nice little operation," he said. "Having to shut it down was pretty emotional."

Meitzner leaves behind a business that he joined in 1953 and one that produced custom-made draperies for some well-known Wichita companies, such as the former Bank IV. At its peak the business had four employees. Meitzner said more recently it was down to himself and one employee, Carmen Singleton, who has worked for Meitzner for 30 years.

Paul Meitzner was 26 when he joined the company that Max Meitzner started as an upholstery business.

"He was starting to develop the drapery business a little bit," Paul Meitzner said.

Meitzner said from that point on, the drapery business grew to encompass the majority of work it did. Meitzner Drapery finished up its final two jobs last week, he said.

Increased options in the window coverings business and less demand for custom draperies have made a once in-demand business less so.

"The business has changed so much," Meitzner said. "A lot of shops like ours are just dying out one by one."

It's for that reason that he only briefly considered trying to sell the business.

Mike Meitzner said it would be difficult for the business to continue without his dad.

"I think a lot of his repeat customer base would have demanded him being on the job," said Mike Meitzner, one of Paul Meitzner's seven children. "His attention to detail is what got him the business."