I have often written about my first years in the business I spent cutting spring roller shades in my parents store. I learned this skill of trimming shades down to size on the Grand Concourse in the Bronx. This was a busy store and part of the job of cutting these in-stock roller shades was doing the task in front of the customer. Talk about pressure for a ten year old.
Current photo of the Loew's Paradise Theatre
Directly across the street from Gaylin's in the Bronx in 1968
The tools we used to cut these vinyl and cloth shades were a pair of scissors to trim and the Star Window Shade Machine for the main cutting. It functioned very simply by inserting the roller shade (with the wood slat removed from the bottom) into the machine, tightening the clamp, spinning the crank by hand and slowly pushing the blade through the material. Here is a photo of that machine which I still have.
Star Window Shade Machine Model-B
It wasn't too long before my Dad purchased the electric version and my productivity soared. In 1968 my parents opened a new store in the suburban town of Nanuet, New York and cutting roller shades became a very large and profitable part of the business.
Electric Star Window Shade Machine
New home owners moving to the suburbs needed there windows covered with reasonably priced shades and in-stock cut to size roller shades fit the bill. The basic options were shades that were translucent or blackout, and either plain bottom or with scallop and fringe. The plain bottom shades were quick and easy to cut, the scallop and fringe shades took the extra steps of cutting from both sides so the scallop was symmetrically cut.
While this part of the business doesn't exist for me anymore, it holds wonderful memories. Looking back it taught me a lesson of the concept of "adding value" to a product. First by educating the customer on the type of shade she should buy, then carefully cutting it down to the exact size to fit their window.