Cherie' Paro has been able to turn her knowledge of fashion into a thriving 'home' business. Cherie' started Design Furnishings in 1996 after studying fashion at Tyler Junior College in the late 1970s.
She rented a booth at an antique mall on S. Broadway Ave, thinking she would do granite and iron tables. However, her business soon expanded. A builder's wife came through and started looking at tables and asked "Why don't you do countertops?" "I figured out how to price granite, I found installers and fabricators and I probably did one job a month until I joined Tyler Area Builders Association," Cherie' said.
Once she started doing countertops, she moved her business to 5th Street and changed the name to "The Granite Girls". The business continued to grow exponentially, prompting Cherie' to move to the current location at 6618 S. Broadway Ave, in 2001. She has gone from doing kitchen countertops to turnkey remodels and recently became a builder with TABA.
"I'm the only single woman builder, which means I can pull permits." Cherie' said. "I can do everything on a remodel. I help clients with colors, the design, the style and every detail in between. From beginning to end, I'm with them," Cherie' beamed proudly.
But she does not do all the work alone. Cherie' has subcontractors and gets to work with her sisters, Lynette Paro and Renee Paro Ray. "Renee helps us with all of our tiles, flooring and backsplash at Builders Carpet," she said.
Over the years Cherie said she feels her business has been able to grow with Tyler by being more flexible. She said the focus of the business was originally new construction but that has gradually changed to remodeling. "As years have gone by, there has been a need in Tyler for a great remodeler because more people are staying in their homes," Cherie' said. The Granite Girls has seen thousands of satisfied customers over the last 13 years. In 2005 Cherie' won an award for building a home in 2 hours and 52 minutes with the help of thousands of TABA members.
She is now remodeling a house from the 1950s on Sneed Ave, which entails building a new three-car garage and apartment and adding a second story. The project can be viewed at www.thegranitegirls.com.