North Mankato's Blinds and More has established itself as the go-to spot for interior design.  In this installment of Hometown Business Connection, Lisa Cownie sits down with owner Brook Devenport.
Lisa; I'm here with a real dynamo, the energizer bunny, and I mean that affectionately, with Brook Devenport.  She's owner of Blinds & More in Lower North Mankato. Brook, you started this business several years ago. Was it about 2014 when you really started going at it? All along you've had the same business model, but tell us about the changes over the years.
Brook says, "The changes? We moved out of our garage. That was huge, not having all our deliveries to our garage. That was really exciting. We've grown. It's no longer just Abby and I. We have a team of six window covering specialists, interior designers and installers. And then we added interior design and decorating services. We work with a list of contractors and specialty services to offer home remodeling projects outside of window coverings."
Lisa: That's really been the foundation I think, and what's made you so successful was being mobile and going to people and not having them come to you. What are some of the challenges of being a small or locally owned business?
"Challenges? You know what, being locally owned, for us, has actually been quite an advantage. I do advertise. A lot. But personal referrals - it's so awesome when someone calls us and says, 'you know, I've seen your advertising, but this friend of mine told me to give you a call.' That's awesome.
Challenges? My biggest one is knowing when to grow and how to grow. Adding people, adding resources. Going outside just the window covering world. That's been the biggest challenge," says Brook.
Lisa: Big risks but big rewards. What's been the key to your success over the years?
Brook says, "Offering excellent customer service. Always trying to go above and beyond. I always want my customers to be 100% satisfied. For me personally? Surrounding myself with positive people that want to succeed just as much as I do. I certainly haven't grown this by myself. I've surrounded myself with a fantastic team."