NOT A FRANCHISE
The Blind Alley was founded March 31st, 1984 in Bellevue, Washington by Gene & Kurt Evers and is still owned and operated by the Evers family. Unlike franchises, such as Budget Blinds and the long-gone Mr. MiniBlind, which "train" new franchise owners in two weeks, our owners have extensive experience in the custom window covering trade dating back to 1967 here in Bellevue and Seattle.
Kurt started as a drapery installer helper at Eastside Drapery in Eastgate in 1967 while he was a senior at Newport High School. His main tasks that year were making custom roller shades (laminated fabrics that matched draperies were very popular back then) and making custom Kirsch drapery rods. As a drapery installer helper he was mostly a go-fer for the owner of Eastside Drapery, Wayne Garey.
In the summer of 1967 Kurt was sent out on his own as an installer, a career move that lasted to the mid-nineties.
Gene was an engineer at Boeing from 1961 to the summer of 1971 when Boeing laid off over 60,000 in the Seattle area. He took the early retirement option with severance and purchased an existing drapery, carpet and upholstery store on Beacon Hill: Beacon Hill Upholstery. He later changed the name to Beacon Interiors.
Gene hired his son Kurt to work with him in the store, but due to the small market area and severe recession, Kurt continued to install draperies independently as well.
In 1975 Kurt contracted to work as an independent installer for Custom Bilt Products of Seattle. They were the Levolor distributor in the Pacific Northwest so Kurt was installing Levolor blinds throughout western Washington, including major office buildings in the Seattle area.
In 1980 Gene closed Beacon Interiors and moved the business to his home in Bellevue, changing the name to Pacific Interiors. He kept in contact with his former customers and the business continued to be successful.
In 1981 Gene and Kurt formed Group II Associates, a partnership, to bid on blinds and window coverings for major commercial office and industrial buildings. Their first successful bid culminated in an order for 2479 Levolor Riviera blinds furnished and installed in Skyline Tower in Bellevue in September 1982.
Also, in 1982 Custom Bilt Products, where Kurt was still working as a contract installer, was purchased by Hunter Douglas and became Hunter Douglas Northwest.
In early 1984 Gene and Kurt decided to open another retail window coverings showroom together, this time in Bellevue rather than Seattle. Kurt's mentor at Eastside Drapery, Wayne Garey, had retired so they would not be competing with him on the eastside.
So Blind Alley was born on March 31, 1984 at 14020 NE 21st Street, Suite A in the Overlake area of east Bellevue. In 1988 the showroom was moved across the parking lot to the current location at 14102 NE 21st Street.
Gene retired from active duty in Group II Associates and The Blind Alley at the end of 1995 and in October 2001 Kurt and his wife Claudia purchased Gene's half of the business. Sadly, Gene passed away on August 5, 2005 in Phoenix, Arizona.
Group II Associates is owned by Kurt and Claudia Evers, but the day to day operation is overseen by Julie (Evers) Beaudette, Kurt's sister, and her husband Fred Beaudette.
The Blind Alley is also owned and by Kurt and Claudia Evers. Claudia is the Sales Manager and oversees the day to day operations of the Sales staff, the Installation staff and the Service department.
Jan Evers, Kurt's younger sister, is the Warranty Service Manager and oversees all warranty and non-warranty service needs of our customers.
Matt Evers, Kurt and Claudia's oldest son, is one of the full-time Installers on staff with The Blind Alley. And Coleen Marta, Kurt and Claudia's niece, is Kurt's Administrative Assistant.
In addition to the family members at The Blind Alley and Group II Associates, there are also many fine employees, not related to Kurt or Claudia, but that are still like family, who have, on average, over 19 years each with the Company!
In July 2003 The Blind Alley joined more than 375 other dealers nationwide participating in the exclusive Hunter Douglas Gallery program, which is limited to dealers selected by Hunter Douglas for their knowledge and expertise regarding Hunter Douglas products and services.
The Blind Alley is the only Authorized Hunter Douglas Gallery on the Eastside
As you can see, this is a family business, with a historical commitment to longevity as a result of superior customer service and superior product knowledge and superior quality products.
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Hunter Douglas Inc., headquartered in Upper Saddle River, N.J., is the leading manufacturer of custom window coverings in North America.
To learn more about The Blind Alley visit our Company Profile.