Sudbury fur coat owners repurpose family heirlooms into cozy blankets

A well-known fur store in Sudbury is repurposing old coats into something brand new — and the environmentally friendly option seems to be catching on.

What do you do with that old fur coat hanging in the depths of your closet?

Marc Lafrance from Lafrance Furs in Sudbury shows CBC News one of the many fur coats being fashioned into a blanket. (Marina von Stackelberg/CBC)

A well-known fur store in Sudbury is re-purposing old coats into something brand new — and the environmentally friendly option seems to be catching on.

Lafrance Furs has been selling fur coats in the city for more than a century. But owner Marc Lafrance says lately he's been fielding requests from people asking to turn the coats into blankets.

"People will say, 'it's been hanging there for so long.' And, like everything else, they go out of style," he said, adding many people walk into his shop holding coats that once belonged to long-gone family members.

"It's grandma's coat. And it goes on. 'I inherited it. And I want to do something with it.' And in some cases they have multiple people that they want to leave it with."

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Lafrance said transforming a fur coat into a blanket usually takes about 40 hours and is all done by hand — so people should expect to pay about $1,000 for the service.

So far, Lafrance has re-purposed fox, coyote, wolf, and beaver fur coats into blankets.

The process involves dismantling the coat, cutting it into pieces, and then patching the squares together. After that, the blanket is shaped, dried, washed, and then lined with a velour.

Lafrance says the blankets are a fitting end for heirlooms that would otherwise stay hidden in closets for decades.

"Some of those coats started off in the 50s and 60s," he said. "Now that they're made into blankets, there's no telling how long they'll go now."


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