Finishing Touch Owner Cheryl Sowder, right front, with her staff. Courtesy Photo
By KIRSTEN LASKEY
Los Alamos Daily Post
Cheryl Sowder, owner of Finishing Touch at 174 Central Park Square, has been in business for 38 years and she is considering making some changes. Her husband, Joe Brophy, recently retired and Sowder is thinking about joining him.
Her retirement is not imminent and Sowder added she does not want to close the store. She is hopeful someone will show an interest in the store and she would train them to take over so that Finishing Touch would continue to be part of the Los Alamos business community.
“The store has been a part of Los Alamos for a really long time and the store is really important to Los Alamos,” Sowder said.
She pointed out The Finishing Touch specializes in design, paint, flooring and window coverings. Although there are two other good paint stores in town, The Finishing Touch is the only local flooring and window coverings store.
Plus, “whenever a business closes, it affects the business community. I’d hate for a 38-year-old business to close down,” Sowder said. As a result, she is “asking the community if anyone is interested in continuing this business.”
As a native to Los Alamos, Sowder has strong ties to the community. “I love this community; I grew up here and lived here most of my life. I want to see a thriving business community and I’d like to see Finishing Touch continue to be a part of that.”
Finishing Touch is not the first business enterprise Sowder has undertaken. Sowder graduated college with a degree in design and after returning to Los Alamos she and her husband started a home construction and design business, Handcrafted Homes. Sowder explained her husband built the homes and she designed them. While running Handcrafted Homes, she said they purchased paint and products with Netuschil Paint and Glass. When Netuschil Paint and Glass went up for sale, Sowder and her husband decided to purchase it. The thing was, she said, they didn’t know anything about retail. “It was crazy,” Sowder said.
Still, Sowder studied, read and went to conferences on how to run a business. “This business gave me the opportunity to continue in home design.”
From her experience, Sowder said it is possible to run a business without initially knowing retail or entrepreneurial skills. “You can learn,” she said. “It takes a person who likes learning.”
She added Finishing Touch is a great place to work.
“The thing that is really cool about this business is we work with people in their home design and we work with them for awhile.” This, Sowder said, allows them to build relationships with customers, which is the best part. They also get to see a lot of homes. “People in Los Alamos are fun to work with,” Sowder said.
“We’re a service store that sells products. I think that’s why it’s successful in this town. It’s a service.”
She added, “It’s been a mutual gain here. This store has been good for Los Alamos and Los Alamos has been very good to me. I want to make sure to try my best to keep it going if possible.”
Owning Finishing Touch also never gets mundane; things are always changing. For instance, Sowder said the store is following current trends and offering more “green” or environmentally friendly products.
If interested in learning more, please call Sowder at 662.3388.