Jeannine Deramo is a certified Literacy Specialist and freelance writer.…
BLAUVELT’s 50-Year Success Story
“Fabrics were always in my life,” Cindy Ozanian muses. This passion is rooted in her childhood. “I grew up in Rochester, NY, and had a very wonderful relationship with my grandmother, who owned a bridal shop. She taught me and my sisters how to sew. We were always creating with fabrics.”
That love propelled Cindy into a career as a buyer for Bamberger’s (cue a nostalgic nod). After becoming pregnant with her daughter, she took maternity leave from the fashion buying industry and spent her afternoons walking with the baby stroller.
Prior to their current Route 303 location, Blauvelt Wallcoverings was then located on Western Highway, and Cindy would stop in to help her mother-in-law, and store founder, Rose Ozanian, with the wallcovering shop. “She opened the business in 1972 and worked there until she was 92 years old.” Cindy learned the trade from Rose, and gradually introduced decorating with fabrics to expand the business. “The most important element was to work with experienced window installers, upholsters, and paper hangers. Quality workmanship and customer service has always been our priority.”
As we sit among luxurious fabrics and elegant wallpapers, discussing Cindy’s work, she says, thoughtfully, “Really, what I enjoy is creating beautiful rooms for my clients.” I instantly feel the need to switch hats for a moment and play customer: “I’m thinking of redesigning my living room. Where do I start?” She asks me a litany of questions, gathering her research to guide me properly. “What colors do you have in the surrounding rooms? How is the furniture arranged? What’s your style in those rooms?” Cindy next pulls out the Benjamin Moore paint deck and asks me to identify some colors that appeal to me. She also suggests I email her photos of the room, along with dimensions. “Then, I also suggest my customers pull photos of colors and styles and rooms that they like into a portfolio.”
Once style and color palette are conceived, Cindy begins to research fabrics. “I don’t look at the price at first, I just pull everything that I think could work.” Then, the next step will be to determine budget and narrow down from there. Cindy’s accessibility to top vendors include: Thibaut, Candice Olson, Fabricut, Kravet, and a multitude of others, at all price points. “I have accounts with almost every major company. And if a customer finds something from a small, lesser known supplier, I will call them and set up an account, no problem.”
Decorating services at Blauvelt Wallcoverings & Fabrics Inc. include custom window treatments, bedding, headboards, slipcovers, and upholstery for residential and commercial projects. They house a voluminous library of wallcovering collections and fabric books for every project. “The current trend is for High Performance fabrics. We have an extensive book collection for this category.” In terms of wallpaper, “Our wallcovering library includes 54-inch commercial and residential for high traffic areas. Also, we have a representation of designs from the UK and high-end fabrics, wallcoverings and trims. We are a Hunter Douglas Alliance dealer, Graber dealer and Alta dealer for privacy shades that also offer motorization,” Cindy explains.
Blauvelt Wallcoverings & Fabrics Inc. is open to customers wishing to explore their decorating options for their windows and walls. Cindy also communicates with clients via email. Many local designers source here for their projects, both small and large scale. “We have a loyal customer base that will call when they are ready for another decorating project. Plus, many of our clients have second homes that we have decorated.”
It’s been nearly 50 years since Rose launched Blauvelt Wallcovering. Her years of dedication and investment in the industry, continued on by Cindy, surely speak to the fact that business is still thriving. Knowledge and expertise are but one part of the success equation; patience and perception of client needs is another. “You have to really read your customers. And with 40 years of experience, I’ve learned to do that.”
Jeannine Deramo is a certified Literacy Specialist and freelance writer. She is a staff writer for Rivertown Magazine and author of the Rivertown Retail monthly fashion & shopping column. She is the founder of lifestyle blog Peace & Plenty.