Exclusive deal opens the window to more business

Published April 4, 2007

ST. PETERSBURG - Peter Haggar looked at his computer screen and marveled. First-quarter figures typically don't excite him, but this year's numbers give him more than a small a rise.

"It's been huge," Haggar said early this week, estimating that his Blind and Shutter Gallery has doubled its business in recent months.

Five years at Cocoanut Grove Plaza at 2900 Fourth St. N, the gallery has added an exclusive dealership and is planning a grand "reopening" the middle of this month.

The gallery has not been closed but has undergone remodeling and reorganization.

Haggar, 38, recently completed a deal to be the city's showcase dealer for Hunter Douglas, an international window fashion firm whose headquarters are in the Netherlands.

It brings Haggar's gallery an elite line of shutters, shades, louvers and sheers.

He said the firm will continue to serve homeowners but also is hoping to increase its business with decorators and builders.

Haggar is a familiar neighborhood name. Before opening in Cocoanut Grove, he ran his gallery on Beach Drive NE. He comes from a family of builders.

During the 1980s, he was a tennis star for St. Petersburg Catholic High School and continued playing in adult leagues.

Haggar said he expects his new window-dressing line to generate considerable growth, but he also credits assistant Shawn Kinkade with helping to fuel the pace.

Kinkade went to work a few months ago.

"Without her, I was disorganized, to say the least," Haggar said.