Brightside Blinds

Monthly Archive: January 2015

My dog the Super Model


This is our dog Fendi in our home back in 2001. He was 2 years old when this photo was used in a National advertising campaign for Phifer Sheerweave Solar Shades. The full page color ad was used for many many years in National magazines and on huge walls at Window Coverings trade shows.
Since this photo was taken, Solar Shades (or Sun Shades as many call them) have become a best selling window treatment. Here in St. Augustine, so many of us have beautiful water or marsh views we do not want to block out. Solar Shades provide a beautiful, easy and affordable window covering that blocks the harsh heat and glare of the sun, while allowing the view to be seen. The fabric can be made into very large shades, for both interior and exterior applications. It can also be made into Sliding Panels, which are a relatively new window covering option that is very popular. We offer motorization on Solar Shades both inside and outside.

On Friday, Feb 20th, we will be celebrating Fendi’s 16th birthday. Although he can no longer jump up on the couch, he enjoys relaxing at home, usually by a window. His modeling career is over, but he is enjoying his retirement! We however enjoy helping all the great folks in St. Augustine find the perfect window treatment for their homes!

There is something in the water

When my wife, Donna, and I first came to St.Augustine on vacation in 2004, we knew this was “the place”.
It wasn’t the “time”, but it was certainly the place we wanted to be. At that time in our lives, we had a thriving blinds, shutters and draperies business in South Florida.
We had a son at the University of Florida and a daughter about to be a senior in high school.
Moving was out of the question. So, we did what any sane, rational, middle aged couple would do.
We bought a lot across the street from the house we were renting, which happened to be accross the street from the Atlantic Ocean.
Low and behold, somehow everything fell into place.
We sold our 25 year old blind, shutter and drapery business and our daughter graduated from high school.
We sold our home in SoFla and changed our address to St. Augustine.
It was 2006, we were new to town, and decided to do the only thing we knew how to do…open a retail showroom to sell (drum roll) blinds, shutters and draperies.
From that fateful first day in business here, we knew something was very different in St. Augustine.
Everyone was really, really nice.
Nobody was ever in a rush, or seemed angry, and everyone always (without exception) had a kind word.
No offense to all of our friends and old customers in south Florida who may be reading this, but you were not that easy to deal with! (I’m being kind, folks.)
Nobody honks the second a light turns green in St. Augustine, and if they do, you just know they must be from somewhere else.
For awhile, we kept saying…”there must be something in the water”.
How could folks be so amicable all the time?
When other newcomers would come into our showroom in St. Augustine Beach, not surprisingly, they would say the same thing about something in the water here!
Wherever they came here from, it just wasn’t as friendly as it is in St. Augustine.
Well, time has passed, and now we finally “get it”.
It’s not that there is something in the water….it IS the water, that is, the miles of dog friendly Atlantic coast, the St. Johns river,(it flows backward) and a clean, beautiful and crystal clear Intracoastal Waterway.
People in St. Augustine come here for all this and more including breathtaking sunrises over the ocean, and on most days, colorfull “blood red” sunsets facing west.
We are only too happy to provide our clientele in St. Augustine with solar shades, blinds, shutters and drapery to help them enjoy the views in both directions!
For us, St. Augustines’ quality of life and a friendly local business climate are hand in glove.
Simply, we love to be in business here because we live here.
Our clientele (and the rest of the local population) are here because they too LOVE to live in St. Augustine.
We, like our new clients and neighbors, chose St. Johns County and its environs for all these reasons.
I did, however, get an oh-so-gentle beep from a car behind me the last time I failed to “go” at a green light on my way home from work today.


Mom and Pop vs. The Big Box Store

Is the Mom and Pop store dead ? Do big box stores control every retail industry in our modern world ? No and No. Here in St. Augustine Florida, my wife, Donna and I own and operate Brightside Blinds and Shutters. Our customers often  choose us based on our local reputation, and are not shy about telling us that. We often hear from prospective clients, ” We have come to you because we’ve had bad experiences with custom  made anything from the big box store. We are sure Home Depot or Lowes will screw up this time !” That may or may not be true. But prospective clients often interview us regarding the depth and scope of our industry knowledge. I get feedback from these folks after a job is done complimenting me and my staff for  delivering the job “right, the first time.” This didnt happen overnight. Selling blinds, plantation shutters and custom draperies is a unique retail business because its all about  measuring and finally installing custom fitted treatments to the sixteenth of an inch. A typical scenerio is like this: “I went to the big box store and they told me if I wanted custom window treatments, I would have to measure  and install myself. I dont have time for that and besides, Ive never used a tape measure in my life!” My job is to show them around our showroom displays, discuss treatment options and make an appointment  so we can measure and quote the job. Typically, its a day or two. Thats how a mom and pop business selling blinds, shutters and draperies in St. Augustine, Florida can thrive in an ecomony where mom and pops’ accross the board are disappearing. “Price, Product and Service,” used to be my mantra before the world economy crashed in 2008. I remember listening to TV news and radio reports of big box stores closing daily and thinking to myself, “Yes!” Because I knew St. Augustine needed what I had. My reputation as a fair, honest and LOCAL showroom store  preceded me before each and every free estimate. We not only survived a crashed world economy but increased sales at least 10% per year since then. Now, people here still remember the way things used to be. A Mom and Pop store in any small town American  community was commonly considered an integral part of the local economy. Here in St. Augustine, at Brightside Blinds and Shutters……… it still is.