HUNTER DOUGLAS ACQUIRES ELMAR WINDOW
Hunter Douglas Inc., Upper Saddle River, NJ, has acquired Elmar Window Fashions, Willow Grove, PA. Terms were not disclosed. Elmar is a fabricator and wholesaler of Hunter Douglas custom window coverings.
Elmar will continue to serve its own customer base, operate under the Elmar Window Fashions name and its management will remain unchanged, according to a statement. Craig Garretson, principal owner of the company for the past 26 years, will remain as president and general manager.
“We’re delighted with the acquisition of this fine company,” said Marv Hopkins, Hunter Douglas president and CEO. “Elmar is one of the most successful and highly regarded fabricators in the United States with an outstanding reputation for providing superior quality and services to its large and loyal customer base. We look forward to working with the Elmar organization to further strengthen Hunter Douglas’ position in the markets Elmar currently serves and help the company continue to grow.”
BUDGET BLINDS REACHES 1,000 FRANCHISE MARK, LOOKS TO CANADA AND NEW PRODUCT LINES
Budget Blinds, Orange, CA, has announced the opening of its 1,000th franchise in St. Paul, MN. The company now serves more than 2,500 cities in 48 states.
According to FranData, a leading authority on trends, analysis and information about the franchise industry, only 4.5 percent of all franchise organizations reach the 1,000-franchise mark. In addition, Entrepreneur magazine recently ranked Budget Blinds first in the window covering franchise category for the 11th year in a row, and the company was ranked 156 in the Inc. 500 list of America’s fastest-growing private companies.
The opening of the 1,000th franchise reflects Budget Blinds’ success and entrepreneurial spirit to establish franchises across the country and assert itself as the largest and fastest growing custom window covering company in the United States (see D&WC, April 2003, page 30).
“We began the business 13 years ago with a vision,” said Budget Blinds CEO Chad Hallock. “In 1992, we were five guys working out of a duplex, trying to build a business from the ground up.” In addition to its window coverings product range, Budget Blinds also offers home décor items like custom throw pillows and designer area rugs.
In 2006, Budget Blinds plans to continue its expansion on both the franchise and product fronts. The company is expanding into Canada with six new franchises. This month it will roll out new product lines at its annual convention.
DRAPESTYLE LAUNCHES STRATEGIC TV ADVERTISING CAMPAIGN
Specialty drapery retailer DrapeStyle.com, Newport Beach, CA, has launched what it terms a strategic television advertising campaign. The campaign will include cable and satellite outlets in strategic geographic markets. DrapeStyle.com is a direct-to-consumer manufacturer and retailer of drapery products.
“Television represents a significant position in our 2006 advertising strategy and is a natural complement to paid search and direct mail,” said Christian Sinatra, DrapeStyle CEO.
“The first in a series of three spots began airing [in late January] and will continue until the fourth quarter. We will coordinate each spot with our catalog drops,” Sinatra added.
NORMAN SHUTTERS ENHANCES SHUTTER OPTIONS
Norman Shutters™, Santa Fe Springs, CA, debuts expanded options available on two of its lines of shutters at the company’s 3,300-square-foot exhibit space at the International Window Coverings Expo in Tampa, FL, this month.
Its Normandy® Shutter product line now offers more colors and options for budget-conscious homeowners. Normandy’s color palette has been expanded to 16 stains and eight paints. This will allow designers to complement décor with a wider range of hues from rich stains to classic neutrals. In addition, Normandy is available in a collection of specialty shapes including arches, sunbursts and French door cutouts. Many specialty shape shutters are crafted with operable louvers and panels that open for window cleaning. Also Normandy now can be ordered with 4 1/2-inch louvers.
The new Natural Expressions™ woven shutter insert collection as been added to the company’s Sussex® Shutter. The insert is available in six designer styles as an option to the custom basswood shutters and provides a textured, light-filtering accent. It also can be added to the louvers of sunburst specialty shutters. Norman has patented a sandwiching technique to precision insert woven bamboo permanently into the center section of each panel. This technique displays the woven material while holding it secure, even in specialty shapes.
The Sussex color palette has expanded and now includes custom color matching. Shutter paints and stains can be computer-matched to customer-provided fabrics, paint samples, wallpaper and other decorating surfaces.
ITA OFFERS REAL WOOD LIFT SYSTEM
ITA, Inc., St. Augustine, FL, has introduced a new headrail constructed of solid wood. The Meridian Home® NatuRail™ system complements the distinctive style and fashion of popular window shadings such as woven wood and Roman-style shades by adding the warmth and look that only real wood can offer. It is available in nine finished wood stains and two painted colors.
Equally as important as the aesthetics is the engineering built into the internationally patented headrail lift system, according to the company. Its streamlined, simplified design makes it easy to produce using only standard production equipment. Yet, it incorporates several quality and technical details, including an easy-attach swivel bracket, durable brass fittings and stylish matching wood tassels and bottom rails, the company states.
ITA offers the new headrail through a turnkey fabrication program that includes complete manufacturing, merchandising and marketing support, including manuals and training, backed by dedicated customer service teams. Leonard Siegel, ITA managing director, said the full range of wood headrails is in stock and available for immediate delivery.
COMFORTEX ANNOUNCES WINDOWS TO PARADISE WINNER
Comfortex Window Fashions, Maplewood, NY, announces Patrick Walton, Trenton, NJ, as the grand prize winner of its Windows to Paradise Sweepstakes. Running from September 1 through November 30, 2005, the nationwide sweepstakes gave consumers a chance to enter to win a four-day, three-night trip for two to the Atlantis Resort, Paradise Island, Bahamas. Entries were collected at local Comfortex BlindCrafter Centers.
Walton entered the sweepstakes at The Paint Barn, Mercerville, NJ. An awards presentation was held at the store in January. Paint Barn owner Bob Goldman was on hand, along with BlindCrafter Marketing Manager Corina McRee and BlindCrafter Marketing Assistant Laura Baker. Walton was presented with a certificate for his trip to the Atlantis Resort.
HUNTER DOUGLAS SETS MOOD WITH INSPIRING LIGHT SWEEPSTAKES
Hunter Douglas, Upper Saddle River, NJ, has announced the Inspiring Light sweepstakes designed to drive consumer traffic and sales during the spring and summer months of 2006. The promotion is aimed at building on the company’s Light Can Change Everything™ advertising tag line while providing Hunter Douglas-aligned dealers with a comprehensive, traffic-building program.
The sweepstakes is open from May 1 to June 30, 2006. It revolves around the idea that Hunter Douglas window fashions affect the quality of light in a room, and how that light can affect the mood of those who live there.
The Grand Prize winner will have a choice of a trip for two to one of four mood-inspiring destinations: Paris, where the light, especially at dusk, may inspire romance; Alaska, where the awe-inspiring northern lights translate to excitement; New York, where its dramatic bright light is quintessentially energetic; or Arizona, which particularly at sunset, summons up a feeling of serenity.
Five first-prize winners will receive $2,500 toward a purchase of Hunter Douglas window fashions. An additional 1,000 winners will receive a copy of Hunter Douglas “Beautiful Windows,” a 144-page book that inspires readers with dramatic room photography and tips and ideas on designing a room with light.
To support dealers in maximizing the sweepstakes potential to drive consumer traffic, Hunter Douglas has created a comprehensive kit of marketing and merchandising materials for dealers, while also promoting the sweepstakes in a national advertising campaign in select consumer magazines and a banner advertising program on consumer Web sites. Two versions of the dealer kit are offered: a storefront kit and a shop-at-home kit.
DECOR AND YOU RECOGNIZED BY ENTREPRENEUR MAGAZINE
Decor & You®, Southbury, CT, was ranked No. 263 for 2006
in Entrepreneur’s 27th Annual Franchise Top 500® survey—a
significant jump from last year’s ranking of 379. In addition
to this significant growth, Decor & You ranked No. 3 for a second
year in a row in the decorating services category.
Decor & You also ranked in the top 100 for 2006 on the lists of Fastest Growing Companies, Best Homebased Businesses and Top Low Cost Franchises in Entrepreneur magazine. The company continues to grow in the number of franchises with 22 in 2003 to its current number of 82.
“We have strived to be successful not only in the local communities, but as an entire corporation,” said Karen Powell, CEO and founder. “It is so exciting that our company has been recognized by Entrepreneur magazine for our hard work and accomplishments in 2005.”
Decor & You provides a wide range of decorating services from the smallest of decorating items to an entire home makeover. A personal decor designer offers assistance with any decorating project.
SHUTTERSMART LAUNCHES FLUSH STYLE DESIGN
ShutterSmart, Commerce, CA, announces the launch of its new vinyl-clad
wood shutters with invisible caps. Vinyl-clad wood shutters have
steadily grown in popularity because they are maintenance-free and
more durable than all-wood shutters, yet they are almost identical
in appearance, the company states. The only difference was that
vinyl-clad shutters had visible end caps.
With the introduction of the new invisible cap design, even this slight difference has been eliminated, so that vinyl-clad shutters now look exactly like their all-wood counterparts. ShutterSMART’s invisible caps offer the advantages of maintenance-free vinyl-clad wood shutters without any compromise in appearance.
SUPERIOR ROMAN SHADES ANNOUNCES EXOTIC NATURAL WOVEN SHADES LINE
Superior Roman Shades, North Hollywood, CA, has developed a new
line of woven wood shade materials. The Exotic Natural Woven Shades
Collection features 50 designer level SKUs of jutes, grasses, reeds,
straws and bamboo designed for the middle– to high-end market.
Superior, a national custom Roman shades workroom, will offer fast delivery and affordable pricing on this new line, it states. The collection will offer unique features such as widths to 12 feet, stitched edges, hand-sewn rings and braided cords with a choice of 24 linings and more than 100 in-house valance and banding fabrics as well as unlimited COM options.
This new collection will be available in March 2006 and will complement
THE RIGHT TRACK, INC. LAUNCHES NEW
The Right Track, Crofton, MD, has launched a new Web site: www.therightrackinc.com, according to Director of Marketing, Brian Applestein. The firm specializes in the custom fabrication of motorized and manual window treatments.
“This state-of-the-art Web site will allow existing and perspective clients to review all of our products, learn about our motorized and manual controls, obtain technical information, arrange for a quote, and much more in an enjoyable and interactive format,” Applestein said.
The Right Track has been in business for more than 20 years and distributes its window coverings through a network of authorized distributors across the country.
JP LINING OFFERS PRODUCT REVIEW ON
JP Lining Co., Scottsdale, AZ, has launched its Web site at www.jplining.com. JP Lining is a family owned lining distributor that has been in business for 25 years.
Believing in immediate service the company stocks the majority of the linings it carries, including today’s popular colored linings and especially putty and khaki.
ENDISCO STOCKS MOTTURA CUT-TO-MEASURE
Endisco Supply Co., Tulsa, OK, has become the exclusive U.S. distributor of Mottura decorative drapery hardware direct from Europe. This Italian-based product line is a top drapery hardware option for cut-to-measure traverse rods and cafes available in brass, nickel, iron and many other designer finishes.
The Mottura line is now in stock in the company’s Tulsa warehouse and is available for same-day shipping. Endisco is a wholesale, to-the-trade only, company.
INTERIOR LIFESTYLE USA
Interior Lifestyle USA held January 31 to February 3 in Las Vegas, NV, attracted thousands of American and international buyers, according to the show’s producer, Messe Frankfurt USA. A collection of 48 selected exhibitors provided an exclusive destination for buyers looking for new products in home textiles and home accents.
Retailers, designers, contract specifiers and other buyers from all over the United States walked the aisles of the Mandalay Bay Convention Center for the second edition of Interior Lifestyle USA, part of the Las Vegas Market Week, which featured a total of 1,100 exhibitors.
The third edition of Interior Lifestyle USA will be held in Las Vegas July 25 to 28, as part of the Las Vegas Summer Market.
MEASURECOMP ADDS WINDOW TREATMENT
MeasureComp, Oak Park, MI, now offers measuring services for window treatments. Known for its measure services for flooring throughout the country, MeasureComp performed more than 685,000 flooring measures in 2005 using its state-of-the-art measurement and patented layout calculation technology. Its new window treatment measuring service currently is available in Illinois and Michigan, but is expected to quickly expand to the rest of the country, the company states.
Retail clients will be able to create measure reservations online, or through an automated phone system, allowing the end customer to leave the store with a confirmed measure appointment. Trained technicians measure every job using proprietary software that guides them through the measurement and inspection process. Window treatment measures do not require further processing and are available at the time of the measure. The final product is a precise, properly calculated layout available by fax or online, the company states.