FASHION WINDOW BLINDS

Name: Darren and Chris Gray

Position: Owner/manager

Business address: 53 Pine Avenue, Mildura

Social media: Facebook – Fashion Window Blinds

Open since: 1981

Fashion Window Blinds has been manufacturing blind and awning products in Mildura for nearly 40 years.

Darren and Chris Gray bought the business from Chris’ father 12 years ago and, despite having no prior industry experience, Darren says the pair was up to the challenge.

“If you don’t take a chance, you never know,” Darren says.

“I had a background in management and marketing and in construction.

“One of the things we do that makes us different is we actually manufacture about 90 per cent of our stock.”

The Grays employ 10 others to work in the shop and factory, where they make and install a range of curtains, roller and vertical blinds, as well as external awnings, cafe-style awnings and automated tracking systems.

Fashion Window Blinds works on a mixture of commercial and residential sites, and Darren says it plays to their customers’ advantage that the business is responsible for product manufacture.

“Because we manufacture, we can also do repairs. If we make a mistake, or if we mismeasure and realise when we about to install, more often than not I can fix it then and there and make an alteration,” he says.

“People come into our showroom now and we show them where the products are made  – it’s a big selling point.”

Fashion Window Blinds has been operating since 1981, but in January moved from Madden Avenue to Pine Avenue, a change Darren says has had an instant impact on the business, with increased foot traffic and walk-in customers.

AS A LOCAL:

What is Mildura/Mildura City Heart’s best kept secret?

“I think for not living in town, one of the big things is the coffee lifestyle that we have. It’s a real cosmopolitan thing.”

What does shopping local mean to you?

“It’s massive. Personally, being a business owner, it’s about economy. Someone spends $5 with me, I’ll spend $4 with others – it keeps the economy going.”

Other than your own store, what is your favourite shop within Mildura City Heart?

“I’m stuck in the shop a lot, bit I like Doug Haynes and Chris’ favourite would be Burrows Jewellers.”