“Does anyone know a good upholsterer? Rendel’s isn’t answering their phone,” went a cry for help on A2B3, a widely read email group. Several other upholsterers were immediately suggested, but no one at A2B3 (they’re problem-solving geeks, not journalists, after all) stopped to ask what happened to Rendel’s, for nearly ninety years the backbone–which seems almost the right metaphor–of Ann Arbor’s upholstery business.

In early October, Rendel’s salesroom was open as usual, but Jennifer Hampton said the phones had been down for two months and Comcast had been unable to solve the problem. (“Oh yeah,” piped up a browsing couple who overheard the conversation. “We almost didn’t come. Your phone wasn’t working.”)

A few days later an independent contractor had finally found and solved the problem in the wires inside Rendel’s building–it wasn’t in Comcast’s purview after all.

It was a good chance to ask how to pronounce Rendel’s–people seem split on whether it’s RENduhl’s or renDELL’s. Hampton says the family name is RENduhl, but years ago they sponsored a softball team that pronounced itself renDELL’s to give it a little more panache. That pronunciation persists.

Rendel’s Interiors, 732 Lakeview, 662-7406. Mon-Fri. 10 a.m.-6 pm., Sat. 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Closed Sun. rendels.com