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Kansas City is so hot you're gonna need shades

The owners of Solar Shield could have moved their business and family anywhere — and they chose Kansas City

While folks who live in Kansas City know how amazing Kansas City is, people who have never been here don’t always get it. Kansas City might be great, but for outsiders, it can have connotations of cows, flyover country, and temperamental Midwestern weather. So when Kansas Citians find out someone uprooted their entire family and specifically picked Kansas City over other places to live (especially when they don’t have relatives in the area), the initial question is often, “Why?”

But that’s just what Tim Sanders, owner of Solar Shield Blinds Shades Solutions, and his family did. He’s a transplant from Peoria, Illinois, and he handpicked the Kansas City area to move his business and his family because he fell in love with the city. And he might just be one of Kansas City’s biggest cheerleaders now.

Tim started working for his wife’s family’s window covering business in high school, and after learning the installation side of the business, he started his own window covering business, Solar Shield, in 2006. Solar Shield works with anything that goes on a window or needs a solution from the sun — curtains, blinds, shades, shutters, you name it. He built his Peoria company to the point where he had curated such a great group of employees that he knew he could hand the reins over to them and expand the business to a different market, and started searching for the perfect place to move his family.

And at the top of his list? Well, initially, it was Florida. But after a lot of research and talking to friends, it just didn’t feel like a good fit.

“We kind of took a pause from Florida and we started researching other markets,” says Tim. “Somewhere in our conversation, Kansas City popped up.”

So, instead of going somewhere warm in April of 2018, they decided to take a trip to Kansas City, landing at KCI while there was still snow on the ground. They rented an Airbnb for a week and explored the whole city, from Raytown to Overland Park.

But the weather warmed during their visit and as the weather warmed, the Sanders family did, too.

“Everybody was super friendly,” says Tim. “We kept running into everyone — people would stop and talk to us. People seemed to be a little more upbeat and a little happier than where we were in Illinois. It still felt very Midwestern so we weren’t going to lose our winters or anything like that. A lot of people started trying to help us with our business. It was amazing.”

By the end of the week, the Sanders were sold on Kansas City. They made the decision on the patio of Jack Stack, on one of those perfect days you get at the end of winter when spring finally starts to show — Kansas City would be their new home. They started the move almost immediately after returning back to Illinois, buying a home in the Liberty North school district in a new construction neighborhood.

“We found friends almost immediately, it was great,” says Tim. “[It] definitely helped with the transition. On our neighborhood Facebook page, I made an announcement of who we were and got a huge response from people mentioning [our business] to friends. Since that point, that has continued to be the case. Word of mouth is one of our biggest sources of incoming leads. There’s so much new construction going on in the metro area so almost everyone knows someone who is building a house.”

The Sanders have been in Kansas City since 2018 and love their decision to make it their home. He said people have been incredibly welcoming to both their family and their business. Early on in moving here, Tim made it a goal to make Solar Shield one of the highest-rated companies on Google for the metro area. It took him less than three years to reach that goal, and they now have over 300 5-star reviews.

“We get Google reviews almost on a daily basis at this point,” says Tim. “So that’s been a really big testament to how good of a market Kansas City is and our experience setting up shop here — people’s willingness to help us through our business.”

Solar Shield will have called Kansas City home for four years this month, and they have the friendliness and helpfulness of Kansas Citians to thank them for that. Solar Shield adds to that culture with their business ethics, which they pride themselves on.

“We’ve got a very young, professional, motivated team that’s really excited about helping people,” says Tim. “Everybody [our customers] deal with, from our office staff, to whoever comes out to their house to the installer is excited to help them. It’s kind of that old school, good, old-fashioned customer service with new-age business processes. Customers don’t slip through the cracks with us. We still have the heart and soul of a small business as far as their project goes.”

If you’d like Tim and his team to help you with your next project, you can find them at or call them at (816) 406-0881.