Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Custom Canvas of Charleston

Finding good marine work in Charleston is often a pretty frustrating experience. So I was a little concerned about using Custom Canvas of Charleston to replace a twenty year old bimini on one of three charter boats I'm running.

I should have stuck to my plan of going to Ft. Lauderdale last spring and I might be writing about fuel filters, South Beach or the value of sunscreen, rather than shoddy canvas work.

It took Jim and Jeri the owners of Custom Canvas of Charleston nearly three months to quote the job and another six months once I paid them the deposit of $800.00, to get the work finished. When Jim finally showed up with the new bimini it was the wrong color and a completely different fabric from what we had discussed.

So I listened to Jeri's song and dance about how the "Stamoid" Fabric is some new "space age" super fabric that will never fad, crack or stretch and that the color was the best match for the boat and so on, After much discussion, I chose to pay them the balance of the agreed price, another $800.00.

The choice was not attractive, either I pay Custom Canvas the balance and accept the shoddy work or start over with another canvas shop and loose the $800.00.

Now six months latter the canvas is loose on one side, flapping like a wounded mud duck in even the most gentle of winds. Worse, the loose side beats the hell out of the boat when the wind blows hard like it has the past few days or the boat is underway.

It is clear to anyone who walks past the boat, that the canvas is not right, yet Jim refuses to even look at the job he finished less then six months ago, even when I ask him as walks down the dock in front of Southern Comfort at the Charleston City Marina.

Calls to Custom Canvas about the issue resulted in a rude return call where Jim blamed the fabric "you are not supposed to leave it up all the time or in strong winds" and the fact that he "had to use our old frame".... etc, etc....

Why in the world would I want a "new frame" on a 63 foot Hatteras? The old frame has held up over the years just fine, it is without rust and simply needs a canvas that fits.

Jim and Jerri have plenty of work so my bad "review" will not hurt their wallet.

But consider this..... In the month since I have asked Jim to fix my bimini or at least look at it and offer some advice as how to correct the problem, I've talked to at least a dozen people all who used Custom Canvas of Charleston "once".... and the key word is once.

So today as Jim walked past my boat I asked him to look at my canvas and address his workmanship. He just shrugged shook his head and walked on by, so I'll add my name to all the other ripped off Custom Canvas Customers.

I hope I have saved you some money with this review. I could have saved myself $1,600.00 if I had just asked around, as I don't need to walk far down the dock to hear tales from other one time Custom Canvas clients.

Over and over the dockside scuttlebutt is the same, "Don't expect Jim to provide any service after he gets your check" and watch out for his "good enough" appearance suggestions.

Don't expect Jim to follow directions, to match colors or do the job right even if it is a standard fabric or simple design as Custom Canvas of Charleston has a habit using scrapes to "get it close".

Check out Custom Canvas of Charleston at the Better Business Bureau of Charleston.

Custom Canvas of Charleston, Inc
Phone: (843) 767-1573
Fax: (843) 767-1573

7187 Bryhawke Circle
North Charleston, SC 29418

Ms. Jerilyn C. Perillo and Mr. James N. Perillo
This company is not a BBB Accredited business.


  1. That is a low blow! Did you think of contacting the guy? I know Jim sure he is a crabby apple but this is not fair!

  2. Anoymous the guy is a jerk! The only reason he is in business is there is plenty of work here in Charleston.

    He'd never make it in Florida!

  3. I heard the same tales from other boaters in Charleston. Jim blamed my sail cover's failing on acid rain and refused to re-sew the seams.

  4. If anyone really cares, call me and I will explain THE OTHER SIDE OF THE STORY. 843-767-1573 There are so many misstatements in this story that I hesitated even dignifying it with a response. ( Just learned of this blog a few days ago) No, we are not members of the BBB, but we still get an A rating. And before you jump to conclusions, go to our web site and see our work, and the national and international awards we have received. We are the #1 canvas company that the marinas in town refer their customers to. Have been for over 10 years, there must be a reason. As for the sail cover, if I recall, three years after the fact, the polyester thread needed a restitch. I don't know of any canvas fabricator that does not charge for a restitch over that amount of time.
    Unlike anonymous, I am proud to state my name, and I could give you his, but I don't want to embarass him. Thanks. Jim Perillo

  5. Go Jim and Jeri,

    I am a recent customer and have had nothing but a positive experience. Not only were you both a pleasure to work with, I also enjoyed your son (I believe his name is Joe). The job was finished within the agreed upon time frame and enclosure is great in design and workmanship. I had a couple of extras I wanted after the fact and those were also taken care of.
    My experience in business has taught me that there are always those people who you can never make happy no matter what you do and this guy seems to be one of those.

    Thanks again, a happy customer

  6. Interesting read above, I happen to know Jim and yes he's a cranky Yankee but aren't they all?

    I also so know the captain in question he holds a 200 ton Master and runs a half of a dozen boats including an 80 foot Hatteras out of Marsh Harbor in the Abacos.

    The captain and I'd guess the author of this blog is a total jerk! He's demanding as all and has pissed off more than a couple of Charleston vendors. If you don't do it right he is in your face.

    Canvas guys in Charleston come and go, most do shoddy work and so most of the big boys everyone send off to Ft. Lauderdale to get the job done. Jim on the other hand does pretty good stuff, slow as hell but he's an old guy so I kind of expect that.

    Jim explains his position a couple of posts later on this blog.

    He writes a novel but the captain makes a pretty good case for a refund.

    Which makes me wonder what the heck is Jim thinking? It is much easier to write the check than to spend all this time defending yourself even if he's right.

    At the same time the Captain has a huge ego, I guess you run big yachts you get that. The guy is a perfectionist and that would drive me crazy I wouldn't do business with him unless I really needed the business.

    In short my advice is to Jim and anyone else is don't do business with demanding captains.