By Lucy M. Pritchett
Ann Gregory left an executive job to start a retail door company with her father. When the business first opened, she handled all aspects of the job herself. Now, 20 years later, the company also sells custom windows and has 15 employees. Her sister Laurie Scarborough has joined her as equal partner in the business. On Ann’s to-do list? Become a master gardener. Photos by Melissa Donald.
How did the business begin?
My father was an investor in a door manufacturing company and thought that opening a retail company that sold those doors was a good idea. We started the business together. We sold to individuals, builders, and contractors. When we started the company we just sold doors and then added windows later.
What were you doing before that?
I was assistant treasurer of Humana.
A turning point?
When Laurie came to be my partner 11 years ago. She was working at the manufacturing plant that made many of our doors and when that plant sold, I begged her to come and be my partner. In the beginning I was pretty much on my own with the business. Dad was not there every day, and now Laurie and I are here together and can help each other shoulder the day-to-day tasks.
Going into a business I knew nothing about. Not really a misstep and I don’t regret it for a minute, but it was quite a big step. I guess the only misstep was trying to do it alone. That was fun when we were a small company, but it quickly became more than one person could handle. The good news is I know every aspect of the company from sales to installations.
Aaron Basha baby shoe charm necklace that was my mom’s. She had one for each of us. Laurie and my brother each have one.
What would be your superpower?
I would love to read people’s minds.
Three words to describe you.
Hardworker, passionate, awesome grandma to Katie.
What makes you angry?
I don’t like laziness or excuses. I’m not very tolerant of that.
How do you break the rules?
I don’t break the rules, I make them.
What traits have contributed to your success?
I’ve always been a do-er, and I am very self-sufficient.
What would you do with 15 free minutes?
Sit out on my patio with a glass of wine. I am quite a homebody.
An outstanding adventure?
Two years ago, Dad and I went to France for 10 days over Thanksgiving. He was 82 then, and he wore me out. It is a treasured experience.
What trait do you aspire to?
I wish I could be more of a planner. I am a shoot-from-the-hip type. I have to force myself to slow down and think.
What have you realized about yourself?
I’m impatient and I’m constantly fighting that. It’s a little easier as I’ve gotten older.
What aspect of the business do you enjoy?
I do a lot of design work. I help people pick out colors and styles. I’m not an interior designer, but I see many lovely things.
What book has influenced you?
I read for entertainment and there’s a series of books I love — the Outlander series. I became so engrossed in the books that I actually lost weight because I didn’t want to stop exercising while reading them. I’ve met the author several times.
In college I drove a forklift and worked in a warehouse for three summers.
How do you stay fit?
I walk four miles a day at least five times a week. That is my thinking time. I also do my own yard work.
Perks of Ownership?
As we age and our families have aged, Laurie and I have the freedom and the ability to be able to help with our parents.
Nothing is forever. When times are good, enjoy them. When times are bad, just know that things are going to get better. I find that just makes life easier.
How do you relax?
I love working in my yard. I would like to learn to be a master gardener.
I just turned 60, and I have been thinking about how lucky I am and how I have such a blessed life. I’m healthy and happy and have a fantastic family and a wonderful business.