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Time With The Boss - Bruce Bernstein, Sunshine Drapery and Interior Design

Bruce Bernstein
Sunshine Drapery and Interior Design
Industry: Custom Window Coverings/Decorating
Education: B.S with Marketing major from Indiana University

Family: Wife Jill, children Elissa, Stacy and Jordan (ages 22 to 28)

Mission: Our mission and goal is to not be good at what we do, but to be great! Great performance comes from great and extraordinary people. The foundation of extraordinary people is our culture. To that end we have created a 22-point mission statement dedicated to building a winning culture that has served us well. Some of these key areas include always giving over 100%, going the extra mile for our customers, never saying it’s not my job, accepting responsibility for your own performance, emphasizing work and life balance, treating everyone with respect, delivering results, and being relentless about improvement. Our culture has been our hallmark as we have now entered our 50th year in business.

My first job: My first job was when I was 11 years old and worked at a small hobby shop in University City for 50 cents per hour called Pete’s Hobby Shop. I have never not worked since.

My worst job: I was an Assistant Buyer at Famous Barr in the ladies dress division. I did not have a lot of independence and the job lacked creativity.

Smartest thing our company did in the past year: I hired a new Customer Service Manager as well as a person who recently graduated with an Interior Design degree from college. Both have great work ethic and have added to our depth of employees and our corporate culture.

How we try and differentiate ourselves from others in the industry:
We pride ourselves as being one of the few companies still around who sell custom draperies. This includes selling and producing these draperies with our own seamstresses in our 25,000 square foot building. We then install them. Sunshine is a one-stop shop. This differentiates us from others who may do one of these functions and outsource the rest.

Hottest Trend: Decorative drapery hardware with drapery side panels is hot. Plus there are various new styles of panels that are being used too. We have already jumped on board with these trends as we are in-tune with the changing habits of consumers, while at the same time still being able to cater to those who desire a more traditional approach.

Hardest part of my job: Like any small business owner, there are ups and downs with cash flow. Even though I have been doing this now for 11 years as an owner, it still is one of those areas that is constantly on my mind, even though we have been cash flow positive for many years now.

Best part of my job: When I meet people and they find out I am the owner of Sunshine Drapery and Interior Design, they either have used us or they know someone who did. I love to hear these people say how happy they were with us. This just energizes me as our entire company works to making our customers “Raving Fans.”

Best advice to new entrepreneurs: Make sure you secure enough working capital before starting off.

What’s your favorite place in Saint Louis: My wife and I are “foodies” so I have to say Café Napoli in Clayton.

What book is on your night stand:
“No More Excuses” by Sam Silverstein. Sam is a friend and I asked him to speak to my staff a few years ago. I was so energized that I bought his book for not only myself but also our entire staff. The name speaks for itself as it basically says that none of us should make excuses and we control our own destiny.
Submitted 4 years 67 days ago
Categories: categoryTime With The Boss
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