YOUNGSTOWN -- When Larry Janesh got out of the Navy in 1973, he went to work with his parents at
YOUNGSTOWN -- When Larry Janesh got out of the Navy in 1973, he went to work with his parents at their West Side shop, Frank's Custom Draperies.
He took over the business in 1996 when his parents retired.
"Finally," he thought, "I am my own boss."
He has since learned otherwise.
"I have a multitude of bosses. All those people out there, my customers, are my bosses," he said, laughing.
Frank's Custom Draperies makes custom-fit draperies, bedspreads, decorative pillows, chair covers, tablecloths and just about anything else a customer can come up with. Janesh said customers can bring any idea to him and he'll create what they need.
Janesh comes to the customer's house to measure the windows, bed, or whatever else he's making a product for, manufactures the product and then installs it.
"We are a very customer-oriented business," he said.
Most other custom drapery shops work only for decorators and don't do retail sales, said Janesh, and large retail stores can't offer the flexibility that his store does. One customer needed his drapes to be hemmed for a party the next night, and Janesh was able to do it, whereas other stores would have to send the work out. He does order some items, such as vertical blinds and stage curtains or other large, commercial orders.
Janesh said he also works for one or two decorators, but the bulk of his business is retail work.
When Janesh first started at the shop, working for his parents, Frank and Dorothy Janesh, he mainly installed drapes and blinds, but he now can do all facets of the work, including the sewing. He teaches his employees to do the work and holds them to high standards.
"If something isn't perfect, we rip it out and do it again," he said.
Janesh's shop has a showroom with fabric swatches, catalogs and samples of his work. Customers can choose from these catalogs and fabric swatches or bring in their own ideas. Janesh said he prefers that customers use his fabric, but if they bring in something they really love, he will work with them.
Janesh said his biggest challenge is generating sales, mainly because of the poor economy. But he said his quality keeps customers returning.
"You can buy something from a retail store and hang it for a couple years and then replace it, but these last 10, 15 years or more. I have customers come back after 20 years saying the drapes are still good, but they're just tired of them," he said.