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Ben Mikesell | The Journal Gazette
Owner Ellen Rowland stands in what will be the "hard surfaces" section of the new Boutique Interiors II, located on Shoaff Park River Drive. The store will have displays for hard floors like wood and ceramic, but will also have samples of various carpets.

Boutique renovates new space

Emphasis placed on service, honesty to top competition

Company name: Boutique Interiors II

Address: 3520 Shoaff Park River Drive

At a glance: Home and office interior design company

Employees: Five full- and part-time workers

Annual revenue: $400,000 to $500,000

When was the company founded: 1975

Biggest accomplishment in the past 12 months: Continuing a renovation of a new 4,600-square-foot location purchased last summer. The business was located inside a northeast-side strip mall. Now, however, owner Ellen Rowland has more than four times the space. The businesswoman said she is able to show more windows displays, floor coverings and related merchandise. “I was supposed to retire” the 66-year-old said. “I just love what I do and don't want to go home and sit on the porch.”

What was your biggest mistake in operating this business: Rowland says she should have ventured out into her own location much sooner. “You just have more control over what you want to do,” she said, “and sometimes you have to move, which makes it harder for your customers to figure out where you are.”

What are the key challenges facing your business or industry: The recession was difficult to say the least, Rowland said. “We went from about 300 jobs a year to far less than that,” she said. “It was hard on me financially and mentally. Things are great now, but that was a trying time.”

What is your strategy for staying ahead of your competition: Customer service and honesty. “Most times, I'm offering the same prices as my competitors, so the way you treat people is what makes you stand out.”

What resources have you found most helpful in running a business: Trade shows and knowledgeable industry insiders. “I'm older, so the Internet didn't come naturally but I'm using it more and more,” Rowland said. “I still get my some of my best ideas, though, from trade shows.”

What are your growth projections for the next five years: Annual sales expected to grow 2 percent each year.

What is one thing about your business that people might not be aware of: “I don't charge a consultation fee like some others do,” Rowland said. “We let you take samples home with you because you can't always tell how something is going to look in your house because of lighting and shadowing.”

If you weren't running this business, what would you be doing: Can't imagine doing anything else

Source: Owner Ellen Rowland

– Compiled by Paul Wyche of The Journal Gazette

Business Spotlight profiles small businesses that are at least three years old and have 100 or fewer employees. To recommend a business, email the name of the company and the name and phone number of a contact person to pwyche@jg.net or fax to 461-8893.

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