Hoping to give old furniture new life? Seakers says look no further

Aug 28, 2021

Having just returned home to Wareham, Diane Annen-Benson and her staff at Seakers — an upcycled furniture business that also sells antiques, art and gifts — are “looking forward to getting back into business.” 

Annen-Benson first opened Seakers in Wareham in 2014. After a few years in business, she was forced to move to a new location in Buzzards Bay. Earlier this year, she found herself having to look for another space once again. 

She and her staff spent months working on Seakers’ new home: Suite 9 of 3065 Cranberry Hwy. in East Wareham. Now settled in, Annen-Benson said she has no plans to move again anytime soon. 

“I have a lease for five years,” she said, “so we’re going to be here for a while.” Returning to Wareham felt like “the circle of life,” she said with a smile. “We’re definitely glad to be back — and glad to be open.”

During an Aug. 24 meeting, the Select Board gave Seakers permission to begin operations, so Annen-Benson and her staff hosted a grand opening celebration — complete with a cake, cookies, cupcakes and a showcase of local artists — on Saturday, Aug. 28 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. 

Annen-Benson said she and her team were eager to get back to the work they love: taking people’s old furniture and giving it new life. 

“The idea is to get people’s furniture in so we can paint it,” she said. “And I think that’s worked.” [...] The younger people are realizing if they inherit their parents’ or their grandparents’ furniture, even though it’s old, they can make something new — if they have the vision.” 

She said the younger generation is starting to realize that older furniture is made to be long-lasting, but doesn’t have to look old.

“You can change the style — each generation, there’s a different style,” Annen-Benson said. “And it’s great because it keeps things out of the landfill, and you have a memento of your grandmother or great-grandmother.”

Now that their new store is ready, Annen-Benson encouraged people to bring in pieces they want to have upcycled, to stop by the shop with pictures or just to send her photos directly. She said she’d get right back to people with a quote. 

Seakers’ new space had needed some work, Annen-Benson explained. 

The new location has a spacious showroom, space for Seakers’ hand-made gifts, a lounge area for kids who might not want to browse furniture with their parents, a room where staff can hand paint furniture and other items, plenty of workshop space in the back for larger projects — and, importantly, a dedicated space to offer classes to the public. 

“I like to think that you walk in here and you feel like you’re at home,” Annen-Benson said of the finished space. “And you can picture yourself actually living in a certain area of the store somewhere.”

There’s even a little extra space, and Annen-Benson hasn’t quite worked out what to do with it. “We’re trying to figure out what we can do additionally to enhance the whole idea of a destination,” she said. 

Although Annen-Benson said she hadn’t left her other locations by choice, she said each move created new opportunities for the business. In their newest home, Annen-Benson said Seakers’ staff will be able to offer furniture and sign-making classes, for example. 

“We’ve made the best of it, and each time it got a little better than it was before,” she said. “This will be a good place for us.”

Annen-Benson praised her staff, who she said had generously volunteered their time — without pay — as they worked to get the new location open. 

The Seakers crew includes: Tamara Crosby, the store manager and visual and placement designer; Donna Grant, an artist and Annen-Benson’s sister; Carole Merlino; Matt Tamposi and Robert Devine.

The business is “more of a family” Annen-Benson said. “I appreciate the people that work for me.” 

For Annen-Benson, the customers’ experience and the outcome of the work has always been more important than turning a profit. 

“It’s never about the money,” she said. “It’s about offering a service to people that they might not be able to get anywhere else.”

To learn more about Seakers or to get a quote for upcycling a specific piece of furniture, contact Annen-Benson at 774-302-4559 or by email at seakerscc@yahoo.com. Seakers’ Facebook page has more information (and photos) as well.