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The History of Fix My Blinds

Like many inspired ideas, Fix My Blinds (FMB) is the product of a momentary thought during a drive. In late 1999, Mike Yanke, the now president of Fix My Blinds, Inc., was installing blinds and doing in-home blind and shade repair. He learned to repair blinds from a friend in 1995. After restringing yet another cellular shade, Mike headed to a different customer’s home. Along the way, while he talked with God, he was given this idea. He considered how easy the repair really was and how most home owners could handle the process themselves if they had the knowledge and the parts. The internet had just come into common use in the last four years, and online shopping was a newer, hot development given Amazon’s success starting out as a bookseller in 1994. Mike’s first thought was to put together a generic restring kit that would fix most cellular shades that need new string. And this idea grew into action.

In January 2000, Mike began to build a rudimentary website using a simple hosting site that had built in templates. He spent time learning how to write basic HTML and reading as much information as possible about creating a website. He did all of this at night after he had put in a full day working installing and repairing blinds.

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Fix My Blinds’ First Home Page

The website launched in April 2000 with just a few products, including the restring kits for cellular shades. Mike figured that these kits would be a solid item that would be universal nationwide. The first order, for a restring kit nonetheless, arrived on April 28, 2000 from a woman living less than 100 miles away from Colorado Springs, where Mike and his family were located. But one order turned into more and soon, Fix My Blinds was receiving 15-20 orders per day.

After nearly four years of working his day job installing blinds and managing the website and orders at night, it became too much for Mike and his family. It was time to make a choice. While Mike wrestled with this decision, which would impact how well he could care and provide for his family, he realized that there wasn’t time for each. By this time, he was installing for a local blind manufacturer. The day he gave his two weeks’ notice to exclusively focus on the website, he fell asleep and had a dream. High up over a valley, he looked out and saw that the valley was full of good things. He was eating grapes that were sweet and juicy, one after another. When he woke up, Mike realized that this dream was the affirmation from God that he was headed in the right direction. He felt it was a sign of blessing that there would be plenty to care for his family in the future. Once Mike was obedient to what God wanted him to do by quitting his day job and focusing on FMB full time, God blessed him and his family with more than enough.

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First Fix My Blinds’ business card before our website was even built.

At this point, Mike had been handling the web orders and returning all customer inquiries himself. Now, his wife, Paula, stepped in to assist with the day to day operations. As the orders continued to increase, Mike and Paula’s three children helped, too. They all have memories of rolling up lengths of string for customers while watching TV together. Mike paid them a quarter for each completed roll.

Much to their astonishment, the company continued to rapidly grow and had taken over their home. The basement was now full of racks of string and parts with areas for packaging orders. One of the bedrooms had exclusively become an office. They even took a daily trip to the local post office to mail the orders, being known by the Postmaster by name.

In January 2006, FMB became an incorporation, and their first employee was hired in May. November saw the addition of another part time staff member. These two women were both sisters of Paula’s. And FMB continued to add employees as needed, hiring their first non-family employee in January of 2008. We currently have a staff of over a dozen people!

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One of FMB’s earliest business cards.

In early 2008, he realized it was time to leave the home that they’d been living in since 1990 and working in for eight years. Mike and his family moved to a new home and began to use the older home as the FMB base of operations. The business had fully taken over the space, using the whole house for business matters.

FMB just kept growing. We outgrew that house and moved into our first commercial space in September 2009. At first, the space seemed too big, but we quickly filled it up, adding new employees, new parts, and new instructions and updates to our website. In December 2012, Mike purchased a commercial building with 12,500 square feet. This is where FMB is located today at 615 Conrad St. in Colorado Springs, CO.

What was first believed to be a fun side job has turned into a thriving, growing business. One man who imagined simplifying blind repair for homeworkers is now running a flourishing business that has over 3,700 website visitors per day. Two of Mike and Paula’s children currently work here and are a valuable part of the growth FMB has experienced over the years. Their third child has worked with us producing videos and commercials on and off over the years as well. Mike and Paula’s main motivation in their work is to bring glory to God. They feel God has given this business and blessings to them, and they use those to bless and help others. This truly is a family owned and operated business.

When asked what the most rewarding part of this journey has been thus far, Mike smiles and says that by far it has been the interactions and growth he has experienced as a result of his employees. He is so proud of his kids working with him, and he has enjoyed watching all of his employees grow and learn. Mike cares about connections – connections with employees, with family, with customers, and most importantly, with Jesus Christ. He knows that we’re all in this together, and he wants to make each blind repair experience as easy and as satisfying as possible. He has imparted these values to his employees and each work hard to see the repairs from the customer’s perspective, provide detailed instructions, excellent service and a wide variety of parts. As Mike says, “We still have a long way to go to fine-tune and master that,” but we are working each day to further empower our customers.

Toolbox Treasures

Whether you regularly work on do-it-yourself projects, or just the occasional household fix, there are some essential tools that everyone should have handy. Here is a list of tools I keep in my toolbox that frequently see use.

Screwdriver – Maybe the most commonly used tool for most people. A screwdriver is used in many things like fixing your blinds,  tightening a loose screw, or using it to pry something out. A flat head is useful in getting many small parts out of your blind. This is a good tool to have multiple of in different sizes, and with  different heads (Philips and flat head are the most used in the US) so that you can do any repair needed.

Hammer – Useful for putting up pictures by driving in nails, or using the back part (the claw) to remove nails. Also a great tool to break down objects that are durable like an old table or desk.

Pliers – Great for loosening anything that was too tight or has rusted shut. There are different kinds of pliers for different uses. Tongue-and-groove are used to grip something round tightly, needle-nose for twisting wires, and Diagonal-Pliers for cutting. For blind repair they can often be used to remove parts that are difficult to grip or cannot be removed with other devices.

Scissors – Often used for arts and crafts, scissors can also be used for many different things and are a good thing to include in a toolbox. They are useful for cutting down string to restring your blind.

Tape measure – A good thing to have for when you are thinking about adding new furniture to a room or replacing something for a door. Doing any kind of repair you want to be as accurate as possible. When replacing blind parts, the dimensions of a new part are usually crucial in making sure you have the right part. kleintools-electricianshandtools_0

 

What is it? String vs. Cord

Fix My Blinds sells 14 different thickness of string that you can use to restring your blinds and shades. A question that often gets asks is “What is the difference between string and cord?” To answer this questions, let’s look at a the definitions of the terms we are working with.

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String is defined as material consisting of threads of cotton, hemp, or other material twisted together to form a thin length. Cord is long, thin flexible string or rope made from several twisted strands.

Semantically speaking, “string” has an inferred meaning of something thinner and smaller, while “cord” often refers to something thicker and more substantial. Here at Fix My Blinds, we’ve also heard this material referred to as rope, thread, line and twine. But, looking at the definitions of those words shows that they are made up of a length of material that is created when braiding or twisting strands together, just like string and cord.

The bottom line: For blinds and shades, string and cord are the same thing. And whatever you call it, Fix My Blinds has it!

 

Don’t Throw Those Cards Away!

card2I love getting holiday cards and keeping in touch with friends and family. It adds to the warmth of the season getting those in the mail. But, after Christmas is over, what do you do with all of the cards? Just pitch them into the trash or the recycling bin? Here are a few ideas for reusing those cards and giving them new life! (These ideas can be applied to all greeting cards, not just holiday cards.)

  1. Use the front covers of the cards for Thank You notes. Simply tear or cut off the front of the card and write your holiday thank you notes on the back. The festive picture is still appropriate even after Christmas has passed. You may send them as a postcard or use an envelope.
  2. Use the card pictures and scenes as holiday gift wrap and gift tags next year. Save your favorites, and tuck them into the wrapping paper box. You can even use them to create a unique gift card package!
  3. Crafts! You can make tree ornaments, place cards and many other things out of greeting cards. This blog, The Art of Simple, has a great post here about what to do with old cards.

 

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Gift tags made from recycled greeting cards.

Fix My Blinds Open House

On Friday, December 2, we hosted an Open House in our Colorado Springs, CO office. We wanted to connect with our local customers. We had a wonderful time, and were very happy to meet everyone who came out!

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Falling Leaves and Falling Feathers

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This is the time of year when the air turns cooler, leaves are changing colors and many animals prepare for winter.

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I opened my chicken coop early one morning and was surprised to see feathers everywhere. It  looked as though a pillow fight had taken place.

The change of the season from summer into fall brings shorter days resulting in fewer fresh eggs and irritable, molting chickens.img_74011

Molting is a natural process in which birds lose old, broken, and soiled feathers for new plumage. The most common trigger for molting is the decrease of daylight hours.

 

New feathers act as insulation which helps keep a chicken warm in the colder weather. It takes a lot of energy to build new feathers; therefore,  it can result in an ill-tempered hen.

The molting process or “bad feather days” are comparable to the familiar saying of a  “bad hair day” for humans. These types of days are hard on everyone!

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Starting from the head and neck, the progression of the feather loss continues in sequence down the back, next the breast, thighs and finally the tail feathers. Chickens each have unique personalities and likewise apply this individuality to their molting technique. Some chickens lose fewer feathers and grow them back in 3-4 weeks, while others lose a lot of feathers and stretch the process out 12-16 weeks.

During the molting process it is important to make sure each chicken is getting plenty of protein. Layers feed which is 16 percent protein can be changed to a 20-25 percent protein, found in a broiler blend feed. Protein rich treats like sunflower seeds, peas, soybeans, cooked meat, oatmeal, or meal worms, a favorite snack for my girls, can be given. In addition, be sure to provide plenty of water to keep the chickens healthy.

Although molting is a messy production, it is necessary seasonal ritual for the chickens. I am looking forward to chicken business as usual. Friendly, healthy birds with a new look to their plumage are more fun than balding, grumpy birds.

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Lisa from the Fresh Eggs Daily Blog has developed an easy recipe for Molt Meatloaf. She says, “My Hens love it – and the eggs, oats and ground beef provide protein while the milk product provides added calcium, both of which help their molt go faster and more smoothly.”

MOLT MEATLOAF

Ingredients:
3 Eggs, lightly beaten
¾ Cup water
2 T Molasses
2/3 Cup Old-fashioned Oats
2/3 Cup Layer Crumble (or pellets moistened in a bit of water)
¼ Cup Wheat germ
¼ Cup Powdered Milk
3 Cloves Garlic, chopped
¼ Cup Fresh or Dried Parsley
1 T  each Fresh or Dried Basil, Dill, Marjoram and Tarragon
1 ½ Pounds Ground Beef

In large bowl, combine eggs, milk and molasses. Stir in oats, crumble, wheat germ, powdered milk, garlic and herbs. Add meat and mix well. Pat mixture into a small casserole or loaf pan.

Bake at 350 degrees for one hour. Cool, slice and serve. Leftovers can be frozen and then defrosted as needed.

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Prince, my Pekingese, decided to show off his chicken costume and try to qualify for a piece of MEATLOAF.

 

Light it Up!

Are you ready to get rid of that old, outdated light fixture sitting over your dining room table? Sometimes the task of figuring out what kind of light, how big of a light, and how to hang it, can be an overwhelming one. A light fixture is something that is obviously functional, but can also show off some of your personality and style. It can pull an entire room together, and make it a nice place to gather. The key to a warm, inviting environment is lighting. Below is a simple chart that will give you the basics for light fixtures.

 

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Source

What is it? Cleat vs. Tensioner

Fix My Blinds sells hundreds of different repair and replacement parts for blinds and shades. It can be hard, at times, to identify the item that you need to fix your own blinds.

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A pulley-style cord tensioner often used on vertical blinds.

We have a great tool on our website here showing various drawings of blinds and shades with all of the parts labeled and named.

A popular we part we sell is called a Tensioner. A Tensioner (or tension device) is a part that holds down a looped cord or bead chain. They are used on all types of window coverings including cellular, roller and roman shades, and vertical blinds. Traverse rods for curtains and draperies may use a tension device as well. It simply holds the cord or chain down close to the wall so that it is not swinging about to get tangled or become a dangerous toy for a child.

A cord cleat does a similar job. It is a metal or plastic piece mounted to the wall to wrap long cords around. This is not to be used for a looped cord/chain like a tension device, but used when you draw up a blind or shade and have long lifting cords hanging down. Wrapping the long cord around a cord cleat keeps the cords safety out of reach from children, pets and the vacuum.

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Let us Entertain You!

The holiday season is quickly approaching; are you ready to entertain?

I am going to walk you through a step-by-step guide to prepare you for the holidays: Blinds Edition.

Tip and Tricks for entertaining around the holidays:

Tip #1: Clean

 

I know this one sounds obvious, but some people don’t think about it, or they may run out of time before guests arrive. A tip I have if you run out of time… clean the bathroom and kitchen first. If you only had the chance to clean one room, I suggest making it the bathroom or kitchen if you can get both done. Guests usually won’t mind or even notice a little dust on the coffee table. Something about a clean kitchen makes the whole house seem cleaner. And a clean bathroom goes without saying!

 

Tip #2: Decorate

 

Even with just a few pieces, you can create a comfortable atmosphere for your guests. (It’s also fun!)

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Tip #3: Music

 

Music can set the tone of any environment. Having some soft music playing in the background can make guests feel more at ease and also smooth out those quiet moments when the conversation dies down.

 

Tip #4: Always have snacks available

 

One big hosting faux pas is under serving. Your guests may feel uncomfortable asking for things, and I wouldn’t want my guest dying of thirst and not even realize it. Having simple things out such as bowls of chips, pretzels, or candy is a simple solution. Also having bottled drinks is an easy way to always have drinks readily available.

 

Tip #5: Smells

 

Having the house smell of fall or Christmas brings an entirely different feel to the party. cranberryYou could easily throw together some potpourri on the stove. Throw in whatever you’d like, but there are some awesome recipes out there to make your home smell of fall or Christmas. Things like cranberries, tangerines, cinnamon sticks, ginger, vanilla, and fresh pine go really well together. You could of course, opt for the candles. Either way, scents will make your home much more relaxing and welcoming.

 

 

Tip #6: Fix your blinds

 

Okay, this something most people don’t think about. While some things are more common to worry about, such as cleaning the house, decorating, and overall plans… What about those smaller, less common issues that arise, such as finally fixing those blinds that have been broken so long that you don’t even realize they are broken anymore. You really want to impress the family this year, and all of a sudden those blinds that won’t open or close all the way become a bigger deal.

First, don’t panic. Thankfully, companies such as Fix My Blinds exist. If your blinds aren’t opening or closing completely, you may need something replaced in the head rail, such as a tilt mechanism.

Was that last sentence gibberish to you? Feel free to visit our website at www.FixMyBlinds.com, call us at (719) 597- 0696, or email service@fixmyblinds.com, and we would be happy to answer any questions, and guide you through the process of fixing your blinds.

Happy entertaining!

From Trashy to Classy

It’s a necessary part of several rooms in your home, especially the kitchen. But even a simple, daily item can cause frustration. Below are some ideas to make your trash can less trashy.

     1. Air Patrol!

Don’t you hate it when there’s an air pocket between the trash can wall and the bag? You constantly have the “burp” the bag so that it can expand to hold all the goodies. Here’s an easy way to fix this annoyance.

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Drill a hole in the wall of the trash can with a large drill bit. Place it near the top of the trash can on the back side. No one will see it, but the air will escape, leaving your trash bag plenty of room to spread out.

     2. What Stinks? 

We all throw away some gross stuff in the kitchen trash, and our homes can be invaded by smells. The very best way to eliminate trashy odors is with basic baking soda. This time-tested odor-absorbing fix can be sprinkled directly into the bag or between the bag and the trash can itself. When it’s time to wash the can, the baking soda can be used to clean as well. This is a super cheap and easy fix.

     3. Hang in There! 

Now, about those smaller trash cans around the house, especially in the bathrooms and bedrooms. It’s always good to place a plastic bag in them for easy trash disposal, but the bag can often slip down, and trash may not make it in the bag. I line my smaller trash cans with shopping bags from the grocery store.

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Simply place an upside down removable plastic hook on the outside of the trash can and hook the handle of the shopping bag around the hook. (We used 3M Command hooks.) These won’t damage the receptacle and are easy to remove.

You could use all these tips in less than 15 minutes to solve your trash can troubles!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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