The Son Rises to the Top
Photo by Wes Battoclette
Barry Farmer established a business 32 years years ago and is handing the reins to the next generation. His eponymous company is built upon dependability and professionalism for every project.
“The philosophy of the company is a combination of things: trustworthiness, reliability, consistency, attention to detail and commitment to keeping schedules,” says Farmer, the founder of the firm, who is turning over leadership to his son, Dax. “We let our customers know we sincerely appreciate doing business with them.”
It’s their blueprint for success that makes Barry Farmer Draperies a trusted name in Greater Cincinnati and beyond, creating and maintaining long-lasting relationships with respected contractors, architects and designers.
Farmer explains how choosing to use his name for the company has proven beneficial. “The companies I’ve been in business with over the years have continued to follow me and be customers with Barry Farmer Draperies. After 32 years, there’s a value in the recognition.”
The company started in 1983 as a result of Farmer’s desire to create his own business. Throughout the years, Barry Farmer Draperies has worked on an extensive list of projects, many of which have presented unique challenges.
One was a wing of the Cincinnati Art Museum. “There was a challenging application there because the window was approximately 35 feet wide and 30 feet in height,” says Farmer. “Getting the product, the scaffolding and proper lifting equipment up to that point presented quite an obstacle.”
Other projects offer opportunities to use new products and expertise to meet specific needs. Barry Farmer Draperies incorporated the use of solar screen shades on the Great American Tower, known as downtown Cincinnati’s most environmentally sensitive building. Sensors mounted on the roof transmit information to a computer and the shades are automatically controlled based on the amount of sunlight. “It’s a much more sophisticated application than anything that was available in the mid-'70s,” says Farmer.
The executive floors of the First Financial Center are an example of how Barry Farmer Draperies keeps a project on track.
“First Financial added motorized shades to their meeting areas and board rooms so there were a lot of details to work out for physically being able to get the shades to work with the construction of the rooms,” says Kevin Carrick, project manager at Hunt Builders Corporation. “Barry Farmer Draperies knowing their product and having the ability to say what would or wouldn’t work from a physical aspect made the project run smoothly.”
Experience and reliability are recurring themes anyone who has worked with Barry Farmer Draperies is quick to mention. “They’ve been a great resource; I’ve known Barry for almost 30 years,” says Dirk Richards, director of facilities at Ameritas, an insurance and financial services company. “If you have a project with them, there’s no question that it will get done in a timely manner. They’re a vendor you never have to babysit and I always get great results.”
The company’s creative approach helps the design process of a project. One commercial office building had a glass conference room that opened to a reception area. The client wanted to partially conceal the conference room so onlookers couldn’t view meetings in their entirety.
“Barry Farmer Draperies were able to help me figure out that interesting quandary by using two different screens,” says Ann Scrimizzi, an interior designer. “They’re creative in how they solve problems and handle projects. Window covering professionals are often more residential or institutional — their company is a nice hybrid of both.”
She explains that their working relationship has been a pleasant one for 20 years. “When I have a concept but need help implementing it, I appreciate their efficiency; they make the project look good while remaining cost-effective.”
Farmer explains how he anticipates the company will evolve under his son. “I’ve made an effort to have Dax look through a larger lens and not try to emulate or repeat everything I’ve done,” says Farmer. “It’s been successful, but it isn’t necessarily a path for the future.”
Dax, who has worked for the firm since 1999, says he has been involved with the business in some aspects since he was a boy, but he didn’t always know this would be his career path. “Growing up, I didn’t think I’d get into the business. As I grew older and finished school, I began to appreciate how great the business is and the tremendous name Barry Farmer Draperies has developed in Cincinnati.”
Dax says that his ascension provides continuity for clients. “Our company is always going to be the same, my father’s relationships are now my own relationships. There is a comfort in knowing we’re not going anywhere; we’re a well-established family business unlike a cookie cutter blind shop that comes and goes by the wayside.”
Dax says some of the most meaningful jobs he has been involved with are where the company has built a rapport with the client. “One of the jobs I’m most proud of is with the Skyline Chili franchises. We bid a job to renovate their Fairfax location years ago and didn’t get it. Fast-forward and I get a call to come back and put up what I proposed for them four years earlier in their store. Since that first call, we’ve done all of their locations. It’s not one of the biggest jobs, but the relationship with the Misleh brothers is one of my most satisfying.”
Mike Misleh, president of Skyline Chili Franchise Group, agrees. “They make sure to get every detail right up front and the quality is excellent. Dax is a pro and he’s very honest. If they say they’ll be there at 8:30 a.m. I know they will.”
The future of Barry Farmer Draperies is bright as the son begins to design his own path for the company.
“The most important aspect is that I love working for my father,” he says. “He told me, ‘I could have either paved your road with cobblestones or I could have paved it with asphalt, and I made your road smooth.’ Working for my father is one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.”
Barry Farmer Draperies is located at 11635 Deerfield Road, Cincinnati, OH 45242. You can reach them at 513.489.4222 or visit their website at www.bfdraperies.com