Windows of Opportunity
Infiniti Window Coverings Inc. continues to adapt to emerging trends
Infiniti Window Coverings Inc. (Infiniti) has been dressing Seattle-area and Washington state windows in some form or fashion for more than three decades. The family-owned company, founded in 1992, adjusts and adapts its stock and services based on trends—while staying firm in its commitment to customer service.
“We’ve been around awhile and have a good reputation,” says Brad Grathwohl, Vice President and Co-Owner of Infiniti. The company takes care of window coverings and awnings for commercial properties, single and multifamily homes, hospitals and medical offices, including tenant improvement contracts.
Infiniti, based in Woodinville, Washington, offers inventory including blinds (mini, wooden, vertical), motorized shades, cellular shades, interior and exterior shutters, roller shades and Roman shades from brands including Bali, Levolor, Graber and Skyco Shading Systems. The company is also a SunSetter awning vendor. Services include installation, cleaning, alterations and repairs. Clients can visit the company’s 5,000-square-foot headquarters to view product samples, and sales consultants offer on-site consultations.
As part of the retail division, the Infiniti showroom features high ceilings, natural light, fabric samples and mockups of products. Brad notes that draperies are starting to make a small comeback in homes, especially decorative side panels, and the showroom is ready for those requests.
From Dry Cleaning to Window Coverings
“We’ve had a lot of twists and changes over the years, and we’ve been able to adjust,” Brad says.
The company started in 1992 as a large dry cleaner with multifamily and public safety accounts, taking care of police and firefighter uniforms in addition to window treatments. Just a few years later, as buildings started to shed draperies and adopt blinds, Infiniti changed course, too. The company started importing blinds and eventually took on commercial building work. It also let go of its dry-cleaning plant.
“We used to do all the draperies, get them cleaned,” Brad says. “All the downtown Seattle offices had draperies. Typically, we’d take all the draperies and rods down and clean them—or redesign and remake them.”
Draperies became an air hazard because of dust, he says, and miniblinds—and a cleaner look—came next. The company started to import containers of blinds from China to meet growing demand. In the past few years, miniblinds have started to give way to roller shades.
“I’ve been doing this for 34 years,” Brad says. “You’ve got to see what’s coming and prepare for it.” That requires more than an eye toward fashion. In the 1990s, for example, most finished spaces included ceiling tiles. Exposed ceilings are popular now, which means that you see all the fixtures above—and heating and cooling are affected, which in turn impacts how windows need to be covered. With the mechanics above exposed, it’s more challenging to control inside temperatures. The Infiniti team can help clients choose the best window treatment options to keep the climate controlled.
Serving Tenant Improvement Contractors, Costco Shoppers and General Contractors
Infiniti offers services across multiple niches—about 50% multifamily and commercial, 25% retail, and 25% Costco Wholesale—with divisions devoted to what the market demands. The company’s apartment division serves about 150 apartment buildings—installing, cleaning and repairing blinds as needed. The commercial division takes care of a diverse range of clients, including offices, hotels, hospitals and multifamily complexes.
The company also maintains a division just for Costco that employs six salespeople who specialize in Graber blinds for three Seattle-area locations and who stay well-versed on the vendor’s new products.
Infiniti is available to serve as a subcontractor for general contractors. Recent downtown Seattle projects include window coverings for the Facebook offices at Dexter Station on Dexter Avenue and for the Amazon offices in the converted Bon Marché building at Third Avenue and Pine Street. The Amazon project required 490 window shades plus 150 interior motorized shades.
“These Amazon jobs go fast,” Brad says. “Trades are tripping over other trades to get the job done.”
The company also works with Martin Selig Real Estate of Seattle to provide full services for commercial properties across the city.
Each job at Infiniti is important. The company’s salespeople serve as designers, helping clients to choose the best options based on space, needs and budget. They are available to meet on-site for consultations and estimations. Another team installs the window coverings, and another focuses solely on cleaning with options including ultrasonic cleaning and odor removal. Brad serves as a Project Manager on commercial jobs. The whole company is supported by office staff, warehouse employees and the shipping and receiving crew.
There are 22 employees on staff now, but Brad is looking for more. Finding qualified employees in the post-COVID-19 environment has been challenging for trades, Brad says, and Infiniti is no exception. He adds that the construction market is still strong, though, with plenty of contracts up for grabs—especially multifamily buildings. “We pay well, and we offer benefits and vacation time,” he says.
Brad and the Infiniti team are eager to take on more subcontracting work. He says that general contractors often find Infiniti through The Blue Book Network, and Infiniti crews are poised to start work as soon as a schedule allows. “We’re a finish product,” he says. “We’re one of the last trades in, usually after floors.”
Brad is proud of his company and team, and he says they’ll continue to adjust to what clients need. It’s what they’ve been doing for more than 30 years. “We’re diverse, and we can adapt to most any job,” he says.