Mike and Adriane Wonderlin are the new owners of Budget Blinds of North Tampa, Land O’Lakes and Brandon.
After working for Budget Blinds for almost a decade, Mike and his wife purchased the three Tampa-area franchises from the previous owner.
The Budget Blinds showroom that serves New Tampa, Wesley Chapel and surrounding areas is located on W. Fletcher Ave. near I-275, two exits south of Wesley Chapel’s S.R. 56 exit. The Wonderlins have a second showroom in Riverview, serving the Brandon area.
Mike moved to Florida to work for Budget Blinds about 10 years ago. At the time, he had already been in the window treatment industry for eight years and was looking to get out of the cold winters in Illinois. While he was interested in purchasing a franchise, the economy was bad. Instead, he took a job as a design consultant in warm, sunny Tampa.
“I thought I would do it for a year or two and learn the business, so I could hit the ground running,” says Mike. “But, the business kept growing and they treated me well.”
“They” are Jim and Elaine Trotter, who owned the franchises at the time.
Mike was the second employee the Trotters hired. As the business grew and more design consultants were needed, Mike remained a top design consultant and also trained new hires.
“Now we have 27 employees and I’ve trained most of them,” Mike says.
The first employee hired by the Trotters was administrative assistant Derenda Burdette, who is still with the business. “She is a huge asset to our team,” Adriane says.
And this year, when the Trotters became grandparents and retired, they approached Mike about buying the business.
“They’ve mentored me to prepare me for ownership,” he says. “By selling their franchises to us, they’ve kept it in the family.”
A Little Budget Blinds History
Founded in 1992 in Orange County, CA, Budget Blinds today has more than 1,100 franchises in the U.S. and Canada and has served Tampa Bay-area residents for more than 20 years. The Trotters moved the showroom to its current location about 6 years ago, from an original location in Land O’Lakes.
In fact, Adriane adds, “The Trotters won Budget Blinds’ Franchise of the Year in 2016 and 2017, and we are on track this year for a three-peat.” Adriane, who comes from a background in retail, also says that she most recently she worked for Vans as a district manager. Her experience meshes well with Mike’s.
“(We) have a good partnership because he knows the product and I know human resources and operations from the corporate end,” she says.
Adriane adds that she also is excited that her new job keeps her local, so she no longer has to travel out of the area.
Mike and Adriane live in Lexington Oaks in Wesley Chapel with their daughter, Harper, who will be 5 in August.
A Variety That Won’t Break The Bank!
“The most important thing is that we have a style and service for every budget,” Adriane says.
While customers are always welcome to visit either Budget Blinds showroom, Mike says that many clients never set foot in the door. A design consultant will come to your home with many samples for a complimentary design consultation to help you choose the perfect products for your needs.
Budget Blinds offers a complete line of window coverings. Blinds come in vinyl, wood, fabric, faux wood and aluminum. Shutter options range from modern wood styles, plantation shutters for the inside and outside, composite shutters for bathrooms that prevent warping, and many more.
If you prefer shades, you can choose from roller, pleated, Roman, cellular, woven wood, bamboo, sheer, solar and graphic, not to mention a variety of panels, valances and drapes.
“Our niche in the market is somewhere between a big box store and calling a decorator,” explains Adriane. “Our design consultants don’t just go out and give a quote; they actually help design.”
Mike says a big advantage of using Budget Blinds instead of one of those big box stores is that the buying power of Budget Blinds within the industry allows the company to negotiate better warranties on the same products.
“You can buy the same exact line at Home Depot, but you won’t get the same warranty,” he explains, noting that many of Budget Blinds’ warranties are both lifetime and “no questions asked” — meaning that whether the dog eats it, the kids damage it — for any reason, the product will be replaced.
Mike and Adriane say their number one focus is customer service.
Mat and Karie Jones are happy to attest to the level of customer service provided by Budget Blinds. When it was time to update their home in Lexington Oaks, the couple called Budget Blinds to schedule a design consultant to come out to their home. While they thought they would be shopping for vertical blinds, Mat says, “The salesman was very knowledgeable and showed us options we didn’t even know existed.”
They ended up purchasing a cellular shade, a popular and versatile option.
“We have younger kids and a dog, and they couldn’t mess it up, so it seemed like a no-brainer,” says Mat.
The Jones’ positive experience led to them purchasing a vertical panel to provide shade to their pool area, too. “We’re very happy,” he adds.
Mat says he wouldn’t hesitate to recommend Budget Blinds. Why? “Because of the service that you get, and the product they offer, before, during and after the installation,” he says. “They’re very customer-service focused, and not just there to make the sale and get out.”
Smart Products For Your Home
The Wonderlins say many of their customers are looking for “smart” products these days, and that Budget Blinds is a leader in this area, which is a huge trend in the market.
“Especially in neighborhoods such as Estancia and The Ridge (both in Wiregrass Ranch), where they have nice conservation views, people don’t want to have to go behind the couch to pull the cord on their window treatments,” Mike says.
Budget Blinds offers many products that are automated, set on timers and interact with your smart phone or even Alexa.
So, you can be awakened in the morning by natural sunlight as your blackout shades gradually rise, or change the ambiance of your whole home after the sun has set, all at the press of a button.
In 2016, Budget Blinds began offering a “Smart Homes by Budget Blinds” partnership with the smart home company Lutron. The Tampa-area franchise was one of just 15 franchises to pioneer the concept, introducing smart shades, lighting and thermostat controls for its customers.
Lutron is a company based in Coopersburg, PA, that specializes in lighting technologies, with more than 2,700 patents, including innovations in window shade technology that integrates daylight and electric light.
Budget Blinds also offers solutions for commercial clients, ranging from schools to hotels to small businesses, and these window coverings also cut down on energy costs by helping to blunt Florida’s heat and glare.
Budget Blinds of Greater Tampa is located at 1208 W. Fletcher Ave. The showroom hours are Monday-Friday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m., and 10 a.m.-3 p.m. on Saturday. To schedule a complimentary in-home consultation, call (813) 968-5050. For more info, visit BudgetBlinds.com/NorthTampa.