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home : business : business May 26, 2018

4/17/2018 6:45:00 PM
LakeView Millworks marks over 15 years in Sisters
By Jim Cornelius
News Editor

Without much fanfare, and over a period of a decade-and-a-half, LakeView Millworks has quietly and steadily evolved into one of Sisters' keystone businesses.

The business occupies the entire upstairs space on the west side of Town Square - which is an easy fact to miss unless you look up and see the variety of business signs that denote LakeView Millworks' multitude of products and services. And then there's a 2,500-square-foot shop in the Sisters Industrial Park.

"We're a full-house millworks house for everything," owner Brad King explained. "Doors, hardware, custom and non-custom. We're doing custom pre-hanging in the shop."

They offer trim packages, windows, skylights and hardware - including electrified hinges and door-handles that allow a homeowner or property manager to unlock doors remotely by cell phone.

King said there are two representatives working on the door and window side of the business - Ken Roberts and Scot Fetrow. Fetrow is a long-time Sisters resident and a well-known contractor. His background and skill-set is opening new opportunities for Lakeview Millworks.

"With his expertise, we're looking at getting further involved in installation," King - himself a licensed contractor - said.

That approach to adding services reflects King's somewhat unorthodox, but highly effective, approach to keeping his business adaptable in a constantly changing marketplace. It starts with the people he employs.

"You have to have good employees or you can't do any of this," he said. "Our whole company has been built on our people and their skill-set."

He means that literally. In several instances, he's moved into particular product lines and services not because he had a particular plan to do so, but because a quality employee presented himself or herself and he created a position and a mission for them.

"People came to me when they were down and out in the last downturn because they needed a job," he reflected.

His strategy was to figure out what they could do - and then move decisively in that direction. The question is always, "How can we generate revenue based on the skill-set of the people we have here?"

It turned out to be an effective diversification strategy.

"We have many revenue streams because of it," King said.

And they also have an enthusiastic crew that buys in to the mission.

"We've got a really good crew that are working really hard," King said. "They're loyal, they want to make it work - and they're excited about what they're trying to do."

That's the way King got into the business of selling and installing blinds - doing business as BestVue Blinds. They carry a variety of brands at a variety of price points, including Hunter Douglas, Graber, Alta and Norman. And they also do custom shutters, in the shop now run by Gilbert Porraz. Jeff Young handles the installations.

"He's a past master and doing all the installs," King said.

Shelly Clemens is the sales representative for BestVue Blinds. She adheres to a company philosophy that King has lived by for his entire career:

"What makes a good sales person? Ethics," he said. "One hundred percent: ethics. They don't pretend they're someone they're not. And they'll never, never force a customer to do anything they don't want to do."

King says that one of Clemens' standout qualities is that "she really listens to the client."

For their part, both Clemens and Ken Roberts say that the tone is set at the top.

"It all comes from him," Roberts said of King.

They stand behind their product and their work, and hold themselves accountable for their customers' satisfaction. If something goes wrong, they make sure it gets fixed, because that's what a customer should expect.

"They don't care who screwed up," King said. "At the end of the day, there's a customer paying for this."

Even though their extensive showroom is on Cascade Avenue, it's upstairs and easy to miss. King notes wryly that "We've been here (almost) 16 years, and people just don't know we're here."

But Clemens notes that the word is getting out, because she gets a lot of repeat and referral business, which she takes as an affirmation of the emphasis they place on customer satisfaction and providing a quality product at a fair price, installed correctly and on time.

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