Changing Views

Premier Blinds & Designs owner wants to change the perception of customer service while giving back and inspiring others.

James Crossway wants to change people’s views. Yes, he owns Premier Blinds and Designs in Peachtree City, but there’s much more to his vision than window treatments. Born to 15-year-old parents, James has experienced many hardships and even abandonment. But raised by his grandmother without a lot of money, James knew early on that he didn’t want his past to dictate his future. “I had a pretty rough go of it as a child and had some pretty strange things happen,” he said. “It created this mentality going forward that I wanted to prove to people that it didn't matter where you come from and that you can do whatever you would like to do in your life.” Drawing from his experiences, James has created a business mission of changing people’s perception of customer service. He does this with a relational approach, not a transactional approach while meeting the needs of others and giving back to the community.  

Always a dreamer, James’s entrepreneurial journey began at 18 after he met Jen, who would become his wife. Realizing he couldn’t afford a wife on a waiter’s salary; he found a job passing out flyers for a small blind company. He eventually moved into sales and management before joining another blind company where he worked until the 2008 economic crash. For the next eight years, he worked for a coffee delivery service before starting his own window treatment company in 2016.

Without a physical location, James and Jen met people in their homes.  Six years later, they opened their first gallery in Peachtree City, which carries anything that can go in a window or decorate it—blinds, shutters, shades, automation, and soft treatments. “It took us a while to pull the trigger,” James said. “But I'm glad we did.”

From the start the business focus was serving others, not treating people as objects.  “That’s what’s needed in our society today,” James said. It’s the focus of the entire Premier team.  Operations Manager, Michelle Harris has even delivered gift baskets to customers experiencing tragedy. “It allows us to view customers in a different light,” James said.

James also believes in giving back to the community. A percentage of Premier’s earnings are donated to organizations including Two Sparrows Village as well as a child battling cancer. “We want to find things that are important to our customers and our community, he said adding that impacting lives “solidifies a legacy worth living.”

Desiring to improve the image of customer service as a whole and encourage other businesses to follow suit, James said, “We want (our customers) to be absolutely wowed by what we're doing.” Apparently, it's working! Premier will soon open a showroom in downtown Atlanta and is scouting locations for another showroom in Tampa, Florida.

Michelle, Premier’s first hire, shares James’s vision of service.  She enjoys assisting customers with their window treatments and educating them on all they can do such as integrating with smart-home technology. She encourages people to come to the showroom first. “You can visually see exactly what you're investing in and try out every lift system we have so you can find out the best fit for you,” she said. She also helps solve customers’ specific problems. “You can have full control of all the light that's coming into your home,” she said, adding that it can be done in a way that’s attractive and increases home value. “The treatments are definitely an investment, but ours come with a lifetime warranty.” Michelle notes that window treatments not only add value at resell but also provide UV protection and insulation.  

 A single mother of sons Kylie and Ayden, Michelle’s passion is helping others.  “People deserve to feel joy and to feel love in every aspect of life, even when buying window treatments, she said. She even gives customers her personal phone number.  “They can call me anytime if they have a problem.”

For James, being a business owner has been the greatest blessing and the hardest thing he’s ever done. “It will humble you and expose all the things that you need to improve on very quickly,” he said. The business also provides a platform for inspiring sons Kyle, Kaden, and Kolby as well as his employees. “It allows me to speak life into the people that work within my company, and to motivate and help them to grow,” he said.

James doesn’t regret his rough start in life. “I needed that part of my story to become the person that I'm becoming,” he said. “Whatever happened in the past has no bearing on what you can do in the future. You can make something better of your life, and I hope that's what people see.”

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