Note: The following article ran on May 20 in the Grand Rapids Business Journal.
Editor’s note: Each issue of the Influential Women enewsletter will feature a profile of one of the Business Journal’s reigning Top Women Owned Businesses finalists. The profile first appeared in the event program.
For Deb DeGraaf – owner and president of DeGraaf Interiors, a residential and commercial flooring and carpet business with three West Michigan locations – her education in the industry began at her father Daryll’s side.
DeGraaf Interiors was a finalist for the 2013 Top Women Owned Business award in the $7 million and up revenue category.
“I have been a part of DeGraaf Interiors for 15 years, ever since I began helping my father with paperwork shortly after he opened DeGraaf Interiors in 1993. After some time working in the industry, I began selling on the showroom floor and managing our sales staff. And when my father retired in 2006, I began purchasing the business and have been president ever since.”
DeGraaf Interiors remains very much a family business, however.
“As the majority owner of DeGraaf Interiors, I am proud to say that without the help of my business partner and brother, Dean DeGraaf, we would not be where we are today,” she said. “He provides a balance of skills and expertise that I alone could not. As a mother of two young children, there are days the business has to wait, and Dean, along with the rest of my team, allows me to do what I love most ? be a mom.”
That attitude also shapes DeGraaf’s management style.
“The people that work alongside me in this business are my family at heart,” she said. “I create an environment at all three of our stores that is productive and yet fun. As long as you love what you do and who you work with, productivity and life are so much easier.”