Cheryl Zahniser and her husband Dale met when Cheryl came to Montrose in the 1980s to visit the DeJulios. Dale is related to the DeJulios, and through those visits a relationship began to flourish.
After four years of letter writing and summer visits in Montrose, the two decided to get married; and Cheryl moved to Montrose from New Mexico.
The Zahnisers owned a sheep ranch and that’s how Cheryl and Dale made a living. Dale would move on to real estate development and building homes.
Eventually, Dale’s parents would need full-time care. Cheryl and Dale sold everything and moved to town to care for his parents.
The Zahnisers weren’t sure of what they would do. A friend of theirs owned the Budget Blinds franchise in Montrose. They checked out the franchise, and Dale, living here his whole life, wanted to move.
They started by looking at the franchise in Maui, Hawaii. Circumstances with Dale’s parents’ health meant they couldn’t make the move.
The owner of the Montrose franchise offered his franchise that he bought in 2004 to the Zahnisers in 2010. They agreed to purchase.
The Zahnisers, on the advice of a friend in Seattle, followed the Budget Blind pattern. They built upon that success. Cheryl spoke highly of her employees, including her brother Stuart Grauberger, who has been with the family business for 10 years. Installer Jim Carpenter is going for six years with the company.
A year and a half ago, the Zahnisers purchased the new showroom in the Hawk Parkway Plaza in the space previously occupied by Alpine Floral. Servicing five counties in Western Colorado, the new location was the most central, and it gave them plenty of space for semi-tractor and trailers to maneuver.
While Montrose accounts for the majority of their sales, they do quite a bit of business in Delta County, Telluride, Lake City and even as far as Grand Junction.
Cheryl Zahniser believes Montrose still has a local mentality when it comes to purchases. She believes there are a wide variety of small niche businesses to open in Montrose and encourages entrepreneurs to look outside the box.
She views the greatest challenge to be online purchases, but for her business, which involves a lot of custom orders, she has an advantage. Travel to install orders is also a challenge since Budget Blinds serves such a large area.
A year and a half ago, the Zahnisers did purchase the franchise in Maui, and, as luck would have it, the gentleman who installed their cabinets in their new Montrose showroom is from Maui. He and his wife have moved back to Maui to run the business there for the Zahnisers. Cheryl believes they have a chance as a new franchise of the year for Budget Blinds.
Dennis Anderson is group publisher for Wick Communications, Alaska and Colorado. He can be reached by email at dennisa@montrosepress.