written by: Zanne Lamb-Hunt
Channing was born in Roanoke to parents who migrated from Ohio. He attended Patrick Henry and went on to Virginia Tech for Computer Engineering.
It felt “too big” for Channing and he transferred to James Madison University for their Integrative Science & Technology Program. He did his concentration in Energy.
A few twists and turns later, he’s now the co-owner of Budget Blinds Salem. He brings a much needed ‘window covering’ alternative to the Roanoke area.
Channing’s Path Led Him Out Of Roanoke & Back Again!
Channing moved to Atlanta for three years so his wife could attend law school. “I’m glad that I did that because it was really those three years that made me appreciate Roanoke.”
“Growing up here, it’s boring. There’s nothing to do.” But, when it was time to start thinking of having a family, Roanoke had what they were searching for, including “built-in babysitters.”
The Journey From Energy Management To Entrepreneurship
Upon returning to Roanoke, Channing found a job in energy management with ADM Micro and stayed with it for about 7 years. He then moved on to Advanced Auto in the same capacity. But, it didn’t feel like a great fit.
The compensation didn’t seem appropriate. Channing was partly responsible for cutting the company’s energy usage by 60%! Multiply those energy savings by their hundreds of store locations and you get incredible savings.
“If you save somebody a million dollars (yes, that’s $1,000,000!), is 10% of that asking too much?” Toss in the fact that the bureaucratic process tends to slow things down, especially in bigger companies.
“You can take an awesome idea to the table in a big company like that. But, it takes forever to get anything done. It’s frustrating!”
Channing Answered When Opportunity Knocked
He partnered up with Sean Kosmann, a friend and co-worker in IT at Advanced Auto. It was after a few nights of getting together for a couple of beers and some insightful conversation that went something like this…
“Hey, we actually work pretty well together. And, we’re both smart, capable guys. Why are we doing this for somebody else? How much longer are we going to do that?”
Channing candidly admits that he probably wouldn’t have been brave enough to chart out on his own. “I’m going to quit this perfectly good job? It’s like jumping out of a perfectly good airplane. You’ve got a salary. You’ve got health insurance. Why would you quit?”
Having a partner is ideal for Channing. “I really like working with somebody.” When one isn’t motivated, the other one is. “I feed better off someone else’s energy and kind of use that to bring my own energy up, too.”
The Timing Was Right But There Were Still Challenges To Overcome
The greatest challenge for Channing? “Selling it to myself and selling it to my wife. Giving up something stable and what really is considered a ‘great compensation package’ to do something where you’ll be lucky to make the amount of money you were making.”
“But, I’ve always been a big proponent of work/life balance. I’ve got two kids now. I love spending time with them. I love spending time with my wife.”
Also, Channing didn’t see any upward move on the horizon at Advanced. And, he surely didn’t want to step into the shoes of his boss someday.
“I’ve seen the amount of stress that comes with his job and the amount of hours that he’s putting in. And, I’m thinking…I’m not sure I want to do that!”
“So, the biggest challenge was just selling to myself that this was the right path. At least half of it was a timing thing.”
It definitely helped that Sean was also ready to make the move. “I could have waited five years but he would have found something else by then.” And, the same energy wouldn’t be there.
“It took us a good six months to convince ourselves that this wasn’t foolish. But, the more you talk about something….we just sort of ran out of excuses.” Once it was all laid out on paper, the objections disappeared.
Channing believes that when your emotions are telling you that it’s crazy, it’s important to focus on the logic of it all. So, he gave these final words of advice to himself, at the time. “I still have a pit in my stomach but I don’t have any logical objections to this!”
Window Coverings Aren’t Sexy!
But, Budget Blinds is a franchise that’s over 1100 strong and competing with Lowe’s and Home Depot. And, owning one is like having “a business with training wheels.”
Channing explains, “You’ve got a corporate entity that helps you but it’s really your ultimate decision on what you want to do.” There’s an existing business model with framework and structure that “you can and should follow, but if you don’t…you don’t.”
“Neither of us really knew much about window coverings. But, both of us are hands-on kind of guys. It’s not like we’ve just been desk jockeys for our whole lives.” And, there’s the plus column to consider.
“The idea of getting out, driving around, meeting people, talking to people, getting fresh air, picking up the kids at 3 [o’clock] — none of that has to do with window coverings! It just happens that window coverings is the topic now!”
“People tell me what they want and I try to figure out what we actually can do or what they can afford. There’s a lot of challenge in it.”
Does he love window coverings? “Not yet.” And, he admits he doesn’t know everything. He’s learning as he goes along. But, he takes a lot of pride in completing every job to the client’s satisfaction and he’s enjoying the freedom in his schedule.
There are at least TEN great reasons to contact Budget Blinds for all of your window covering needs, including:
* FREE in-home consultation. Our time is your time – however long it takes!
* We educate with solid information. We know our products!
* We help with the sales process for a better buying experience.
* Our prices are competitive with Big Box stores like Lowe’s and Home Depot!
* We don’t go away after the sale is made. We do the actual installation!
* Nothing gets lost in the translation because we handle everything from start to finish.
* We can suggest window covering solutions to meet your specific needs, expectations and budget. Residential and commercial!
* Quality Assurance — Product issues become our issues…not yours!
* Satisfaction is guaranteed! No exceptions!
* Free Replacement Within 5 Years — NO questions asked!
Another Reason To Call Budget Blinds? They Want To Make You Happy!
Channing and Sean will bend over backwards to make every client happy. Why? “Because it’s the right thing to do!”
There’s typically a 2-3 week lead time between ordering and installation, so start the process today! There are high-quality, stylish window coverings that fit every budget!
Draperies — Shades — Blinds — Shutters — Window Film (yes, that too!)
Serving both residential and commercial window covering needs in Salem, Botetourt, Roanoke, Cloverdale, Daleville and Troutville
Call Budget Blinds now to schedule your FREE in-home consultation.
– Article Written with content provided by Episode #005 – interview with Hal Cone.