World War II was over. Shirley Wilson had enlisted with the U.S. Navy four earlier and been in combat throughout the war. Shirley, along with thousands of other sailors and soldiers returned home to start life again.
Shirley found his first job after the war as an apprentice furniture upholster. A quick learner and skilled with his hands Shirley learned the craft quickly. His skills were noticed by P.E. Ashton, owner of the nearby Chevrolet dealership. Ashton bought Shirley lunch one day and offered him the position of head auto upholster at his dealership. Shirley built hundreds of covers for new and old cars.
In 1950 Shirley met and married the love of his life, Helen. To make a little side money for his new family, Shirley worked nights in the garage next to his home upholstering cars, honing and perfecting his skills. In 10 years, the side business had grown too big to be part time. In 1957, leaving actual 'seat covers' behind and focusing on complete transportation upholstery, Shirley Wilson Seat Covers was born. The location at 470 South University Avenue, was purchased in 1960 with a handshake and $60.00 down.
By then the business had grown to seven full and part-time employees. Shirley taught his helpers personally. Shirley brought his children to work with him. All 4 sons and one daughter have been active in the business; each again learning the skills from the master upholster and accumulated years of experience. Shirley retired in 2001 after 51 years of quality, expert upholstery.
David Wilson, the oldest son of Shirley, continues to operate Shirley Wilson Seat Covers. His sons Ryan and Jared and son-in law, Calvin Simpson continue active in the business; continuing the tradition of excellence in craftsmanship begun in 1946.
Shirley Wilson's long time employee, Dale was disgusted with women. Just divorced, he vowed to never date. Shirley told Dale that he would change his mind. The men argued for an hour, Shirley for marriage, Dale against. Finally Shirley said, "I'll bet you will be married in six months." Shirley opened his wallet and laid out six one hundred dollar bills. Dale did not have six hundred dollars but he did have a 1948 Willy's Jeep, he put title on the table; the bet was on.
Two Weeks shy of six months, Dale married the beautiful Carol. The day of the wedding he handed Shirley the title and keys to the Willy's.
Since then, the 1948 Willy's Jeep has been a part of Shirley Wilson's Upholstery, carrying veteran soldiers and leading the Color Guard in many Utah County parades. Restored to near original condition by Shirley's grandchildren, Jared and Ryan, the Willy's represents the business’s pride in American heritage and values.