History

TheBossThe Professional Refinisher's Groop (PRG) was founded in the Spring of 1998 by Alan Marriage, a self employed furniture refinisher in the tiny town of Mountain Home Idaho, located in the high desert near Mountain Home Air Force Base, home of the 366th Fighter Wing. Alan provided a full range of furniture repair, refinishing and custom furniture building for the military personnel on the base, as well as local folks, from his converted garage workshop. His early interest in the Internet led him to a pioneer in the use of interactive websites and his concept of "The OnLine Furniture Refinisher" as a service to provide expertise to clients all over the world. This original concept attracted other professionals long isolated in a trade made up mostly of small shops, and the sharing of information became the basis for a daily moderated email exchange.

Alan quickly evolved into his role as "The Boss" and with a huge commitment of time and energy, built the network of GroopFolk, person by person, through email and phone calls, always coming back to the daily "threads" of GroopMail. Early on, Alan discovered the Wood Finishing Program located at the Dakota County Technical College (DCTC) in Rosemount MN, directed by Mitch Kohanek, and their shared goals of disseminating information for the good of the trade brought them together as partners.

As the membership grew it became obvious that a gathering needed to happen, and with some help from Mike Mascelli of Upstate NY, Alan and Mitch organized an event that was dubbed "GroopShop" to be held at DCTC in 2002, in conjunction with a DCTC Wood Finishing Conference. This now legendary event brought together about 65 refinishing and conservation professionals from all over the country who were well acquainted within the context of GroopMail, but had never met. The atmosphere was electric, and the energy level was like a long overdue family reunion. Members volunteered to share their expertise in a number of formal and informal teaching sessions that touched virtually all of the subject areas of the full 9 month program that Mitch was teaching his students, who were eager to interact with established professionals. It was, to say the least, a great success.

The members of the Professional Refinisher's Group mourn the tragic and untimely passage of  "The Boss" who was taken from us on September 23, 2003, in a car accident in the back country of his beloved Idaho.

Those not familiar with Alan and Groop are encouraged to read "Adventure to Idaho" for a small glimpse of the man whose influence has reached around the world, seen from his own special corner of the world. 

Below are pictures of Alan's memorial that was commissioned by our members and created by the artist, Ron Hinton.  Also below are pictures from our gathering in 2005 at DCTC where we dedicated the memorial. It is on display appropriately near the classroom entrance.

~~~

Alan A. Marriage
Mountain Home, Idaho
1949-2003
Founder of the Professional Refinishers Group in May 1998

Friend to all in the world of refinishing, restoration and conservation.
Tireless architect of a dynamic world wide network of men and women
sharing information using the technology of the internet.
Mentor and Supporter to students of the DCTC Wood Finishing Technology program.

His spirit lives on in the community that he lovingly dubbed "Groop".

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