Specialty Fabrics Review August 2020 - 21

PERSPECTIVE

by Jill C. Lafferty

SCIENCE AND ART
BARRY ADAMS FINDS HIS PASSION IN THE SCIENCE AND
ART OF LEADING TWO GROWING AWNING COMPANIES.

Y

ou have to be an exceptional artist.
You've got to be able to create a
vision for your customer," says
Barry Adams, owner of Peachtree
Awnings in Norcross, Ga., and Tennessee
Awnings in La Vergne, Tenn. "Where the
customer lacks vision, we have to give them
a vision about what we can do for them
and what they want. It's almost like being
an architect. When we finish, and the customer says that it's even better than they
thought it would be-I love hearing that."
Adams's passion for the awning business
has come a long way in 15 years. In 2005,
Adams was looking to start a business in the
Atlanta metropolitan area, after working
for a closely held family company for 18
years and attaining his MBA at Kennesaw
State University. With an undergraduate
degree in engineering, he thought about
staking his entrepreneurial claim in the sign
industry, but he wanted something a little
more differentiated. That's when a business
consultant he was working with brought
up awnings.
"I kind of wrinkled up my nose and said,
'Really? Is that what you are going to pitch?'"
Adams says. The consultant explained
that there were only six competitors in
all of Atlanta, one of the fastest growing
metropolitan regions in the United States.
That fact piqued Adams's interest, and
after some due diligence, he opened what

is now known as Peachtree Awnings with
two employees (one welder, one sewer),
no customers, no orders and having never
made an awning before. He did buy into
a North Carolina-based franchise, which
provided basic training in fixed-frame and
stationary-frame awnings and recommended
equipment purchases for the shop. From
there, he set out to sell mostly residential
window and door awnings.
"If I came back to the office with orders,
I was ecstatic-I was beside myself happy,"
he says. "I think back on that, and it makes
me realize how far we've come since
starting the business from inception. I did
not have a business that was handed over
to me by the previous generation. I started
it from scratch. That part of it has been
very rewarding because of what I've been
able to accomplish with the team I've put
together over those 15 years."
A NEW IDENTITY
Three years into the franchise agreement,
Adams terminated the relationship
through the business equivalent of a
divorce and a de-identification process
that required renaming the company.
"When I was brainstorming different
names, I was surprised to discover
that in Atlanta, 'Peachtree Awnings'
had never been used," he says. "Well,
that's a name that sounds like it's been

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Specialty Fabrics Review August 2020

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Specialty Fabrics Review August 2020

Specialty Fabrics Review August 2020 - Cover1
Specialty Fabrics Review August 2020 - Cover2
Specialty Fabrics Review August 2020 - 1
Specialty Fabrics Review August 2020 - 2
Specialty Fabrics Review August 2020 - 3
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