by — Mary Helen Darah
Budget Blinds of Sylvania, now located at 5133 S. Main St. in the SouthBriar Plaza, started business in September of 1996. Budget Blinds offers an array of window treatment products to transform homes and offices. A design team assists customers in choosing blinds, shades, shutters, draperies, fabric shades, and top treatments, to suit their decorating needs.
When the small business opened its doors 25 years ago it was intended to be owned and operated by a single proprietor. “At the time, I fully intended to be a one-man show,” stated owner George Cordray. “I planned to do the marketing, ordering, consulting/sales and installations myself. In my mind, that was ideal.
Within three months I knew that I needed some help. I hired an office administrator to do the ordering and scheduling. Danita, my wife, who was teaching at Lourdes University at the time, left her college job and started managing the bookkeeping function. I hired another consultant/salesperson and an installer. The business grew that quickly. There was a lot of building going on in the 90s through the 2000s, until the bank crunch in 2007, and that kept us hopping, and the business growing.” We are fortunate having had family members to fill many of the positions needed to efficiently operate the growing business.
Originally, Budget Blinds of Sylvania was going to be a home-based business. “In two years, we needed to get out and find a new location. The business was taking over our home,” said Cordray. “We found and purchased a piece of property on Central Avenue. We were in that space for less than a year when the Lowe’s project came along and wanted the property. We then moved to Sylvania Avenue, across from Kroger. Then along came CVS who wanted that location … so we then moved to SouthBriar Plaza. Originally, I thought it would be ideal to get into downtown Sylvania but at the time there was not anything available that would work. So, we then landed here, and feel it is a great location. I like being part of the Sylvania business community. We couldn’t ask for a better location than in the heart of Sylvania. We enjoy being involved with the Rotary and Chamber organizations and supporting many functions which enhance community life here. Sylvania is a wonderful, supportive community. It’s a great location for a business.”
When the business owner was asked what the best part of owning a business is for him, his answer came quickly. Cordray responded, “From my perspective, the best part of what I do is being self-employed. It is nice to be in control of your schedule and have flexibility. It’s also rewarding to provide a service which customers find so helpful.”
Thinking about his future plans Cordray said, “People often ask me when we’re going to retire. I am 72 years old. When I get tired of what I do, I will but I am certainly not tired of it yet. We look forward to celebrating many more anniversaries.”