The LaPorte’s Story
As a teen, I spent my summers at LaPorte’s Upholstery. My father, M.J. LaPorte, founded the company in 1976 after retiring from the Air Force. At the time, we were handling mostly automotive and furniture upholstery while my grandfather was fabricating boat seats from scratch. It wasn’t until I began working with my grandfather that I really developed a passion for marine upholstery.
Taking cues from the best manufacturers, we started to model our work off of theirs. Before too long, it was hard to distinguish between the two. We eventually became so well known for our marine upholstery and canvas work that boat dealers asked us to manufacture boat covers for boats with t-tops. We originally fabricated the boat covers with snaps—much like the manufacturers—but the manufacturing and installation process was long and cumbersome. We knew there had to be a better way.
After a lot of trial and error, we decided to forgo snaps and designed a boat cover that could be attached with webbing straps and quick release buckles. This allowed us to suspend the cover from the t-top. In doing so, it allowed for easier installation, a much better fit, and increased airflow. And, in 1998, the T-Top Boat Cover was born.
A year later, my father retired from the upholstery industry. With a love of boating and fishing, and the same passion I developed early on, I knew I had to keep manufacturing T-Top Boat Covers. My wife Camille and I purchased the remaining equipment from my father, leased a building and continued the LaPorte’s Upholstery name.
Over the years, we’ve added more boat patterns to our library, changed our name to LaPorte’s Products and developed some additional items—Center Console Boat Covers, Center Console Curtains, Boat Shade Kits and Ultimate Boat Shade Kits. We started shipping directly to dealers through our Dealer Program and to customers worldwide via TTopCovers.com. But, after almost twenty years in business, our passion is still the same—creating the high-quality products that our customers and their boats deserve.
One of the early T-Top Boat Covers, outside of LaPorte's Marine & Auto Upholstery, in the late 1990s.