Business Features


Houzz HuntingHouzz Hunting
published in Paint and Decorating Retailer Magazine

Who knew houses could have hips? Not I. Not until I was building a home and my builder asked about hips versus gables in the roof line. I didn’t know I had a preference, either, until I looked at my “Exteriors” Ideabook on Houzz and realized that nearly everything I had saved had at least some gables.

Getting past the terminology barrier is just one of the many benefits that Houzz, a home remodeling and design website and online community, has offered to professionals and consumers alike since it was founded in 2009. No wonder it’s grown to more than 16 million monthly unique users—90 percent of whom are homeowners—in such a short time.


Go Mobile or Stay HomeGo Mobile or Stay Home
monthly column published in Paint and Decorating Retailer Magazine

Have you ever used your smartphone to check a store’s hours while you were out running errands? Have you stood in a store aisle and checked the price of an item at another retailer? Have you searched for local businesses on your phone rather than turn on your computer?

Yes? You and everyone else.



Among FriendsAmong Friends: Valentine’s Day with the Girls
published in Fort Wayne Magazine

Ah, Valentine’s Day. Love is in the air. Also on the air are countless advertisements for roses and diamonds and chocolate, featuring fairy-tale couples holding hands. It would all be so touching if it didn’t make you want to gag.



All the Elements of a Great Idea
published in the Chicago Sun-Times

Jonathan Miller’s wife, Jennifer, really hates raisins in her protein bars.

They’re not really Jonathan’s thing, either. He prefers dried cherries. He also wants his bar to get him going in the morning, give him sustained energy, pack a lot of fiber and offer enough protein to tide him over till lunch.

But he wasn’t finding anything like that on the shelves, so he started making his own. He can have some made for you, too, via Element Bars—custom protein bars. Thanks to a nifty online interface, users can drag and drop their favorite ingredients into a little bundle of personalized goodness and have it shipped to their homes. You can get your whey your way.


There’s Gold in Them Thar Pins
published in Paint and Decorating Retailer Magazine

Rebecca Dumas resisted setting up a Pinterest page for Gregory’s Paint and Flooring for as long as possible. She didn’t know how long the social media platform would be around, and she was already using Twitter, Houzz, Instagram and Facebook.

“But I had every other woman walking into my store with an iPhone or iPad saying, ‘I saw this on Pinterest,’ ” said Dumas, who is also on the Paint and Decorating Retailers Association board of directors. “I realized it was such a popular phenomenon, and I could really help my business categorizing things that people struggled with, including paint colors.”


The Fox & The HornThe Fox and the Horn
published in Fort Wayne Magazine

It all began with a Fox in a chicken coop. The result was not a cacophony of squawking, however, but the strains of beautiful music from fine instruments revered around the world.



The Secret to SuccessionThe Secret to Succession
published in Paint and Decorating Retailer Magazine

Ben Jenkins, general manager of Bennett’s Paint, in Logan, Utah, is the fifth generation of his family to prepare to lead the company since 1912. The 33-year-old studied business administration at Utah State University, then took on the ordering and accounting at the store as he gained experience, following in the footsteps of his father, Greg; his grandfather, Lowell; his great-grandfather, Charlie; and his great-great-grandfather, David.

Ben is learning the ropes from his dad and his aunt, Martha Rose, stepping up as the company grows. It’s a system that has worked for more than a century.


A Walk Down Wells
published in Fort Wayne Magazine

Every cool city has one: a “district,” a hip stretch of shops and restaurants where the products and the people are a little different. It’s a haven for creative types, a breeding ground for expression and out-of-the-box thinking, an area where the unusual draws the disenfranchised, the arbiters of leading trends and tourists who want a sense of place.


A Step Ahead for Decades
published in Business People Magazine

You don’t stand the test of time by standing still, but by staying one step ahead. Will Jewelers has done just that, with a few big leaps of faith along the way.


Chicago Madonna, Polish Style
published in Chicago Catholic New World

The Virgin Mary has many faces and fills many roles for many people in many places. It is exactly this broadly accessible humanity that makes it possible for an artist born in Poland to create a Madonna for Chicago with a face the color of the Earth.


Lawns Are Lap of Luxury at This Lawn Sale
published in Fort Wayne Newspapers

I was mesmerized by the Ring of Fire. It sat under a gazebo, on a deck surrounded by warm wooden benches, its flickering flames, gurgling water and flittering glass pebbles encouraging me to put my feet up and perhaps mull for a while the meaning of the Johnny Cash song by the same name.


Whole Latte Love
published in Fort Wayne Magazine

There’s always been a need for such a place. A hangout, a hot spot, a neighborhood joint…call it what you will. It’s a place where teenagers can see and be seen, friends can relax together, deals can be made, first dates can unfold. Less intimate than a home, more comfortable than a conference room, open to all.

© Julianne Will 2020