Steve Haimowitz, owner of Classic Windows, Inc., has always delivered service with a smile (and a laugh). A fixture in the Forest Hills community for years, his custom window treatments company started off as a small, home-based business and then was transformed into a storefront designer showroom and workroom on Metropolitan Avenue in 1985. Today, over 26 years later, the company has returned to its roots as a shop-at-home business.
“It’s like the circle of life, going back to the beginning. Our customers know we’re just a phone call away and that they will still get the finest quality products and service they always have — as well as a good laugh or two,” Haimowitz said. “Though I do miss the avenue, current technology has made it easier now to operate a home-based business than when our company first started.”
Haimowitz cited two reasons for the change: the economy and his family. “Admittedly, the recent economic challenges facing many small business owners are what prompted us to take a closer look at returning to shop-at-home but beyond that, there is the added benefit of spending more time with my family,” he said.
He also said that a shop-at-home business structure can afford him more time to deal with clients, “as opposed to being in the shop all day and then running around and having 50,000 different things on my mind.
“I have more access to the Internet, more access to customers via my phone.”
The change in business model hasn’t made Haimowitz let go of his close ties to the community. Not letting anything go to waste, he donates merchandise and fabric that others can use.
“We would donate to the Jewish centers, the churches, for projects they were doing: things that the neighborhood could use, that could make people happy, especially the older people in the neighborhood,” he said. He mentioned that when there are arts and crafts projects at schools or at senior centers, his door is open to lend a helping hand with materials, and later noted that he had recently provided a good deal of fabric to an area church.
For a small family-run business to last as long as Classic Windows has is an impressive feat, especially when going up against major retailers such as Home Depot and Macy’s. Haimowitz attributes the longevity to never sacrificing the quality of his products. “What we did was work basically on quality. Our quality control was unsurpassed. It wasn’t a production line,” he said. “A lot of places in my industry will just get fabrics, roll it out on a table and cut it. And once you cut it you own it.”
Classic Windows, Inc., continues to provide all types of custom window treatments and interior design services for designers, decorators, and the general public. You can visit them on the web at classicwindows.com or call (718) 793-9615.