Family work ethic behind success at Mary’s Drapery |

Family work ethic behind success at Mary’s Drapery

Susan Wood

Trevor Clark / Tahoe Daily Tribune/ Sheri Schimmel of Mary's Drapery shows off one of her products in the store on Sunday.

Sheri Schimmel, who’s celebrating 25 years in operation at Mary’s Drapery & Interior Design Service this month, isn’t “Mary” in the name – but the 30-year Tahoe resident is happy about how far the business has come.

“I know the importance of having an established business,” she said Sunday. Schimmel used Father’s Day to explain her business principles, which are based on a foundation of ethics, character and integrity she received from her upbringing.

“Dad always said: ‘If you say you’re going to do something, do it,'” she recalled.

At age 12, she worked the family business started by her grandfather in 1914 at Reedley south of Fresno. Howell Stationary sold more than office goods, including art supplies, sporting equipment and books.

“That’s where I learned about Nancy Drew,” she said of the classic mystery novel series.

Recommended Stories For You

She affectionately remembered sweeping the floors and changing the tape on the adding machine.

Her hard work appears to be paying off.

Beyond the South Lake Tahoe area, she juggles clients from Incline Village, the West Shore, Truckee and even Las Vegas. She proudly displays a plaque from Hunter Douglas, for which she’s an exclusive dealer.

Schimmel said she receives regular referrals from property management firms and real estate agents to oversee projects that range from window coverings, draperies and valance treatments to seat covers, bedding and sometimes full service theme rooms. This allows her to tap into her creativity.

She’s performed interior work on a variety of lodging properties including the Black Bear Inn and Fantasy Inn – the latter a memorable experience where she lost her cordless drill under the bed in the Romeo and Juliet room.

For 23 years, Schimmel manned a workroom until she decided to outsource the fabricators. Of course, some things never change.

An old 1964 Singer sewing machine sits in wait for small stitching at her office, now located 2264 Lake Tahoe Blvd. Mary’s Drapery can be reached at (530) 544-7009 or via e-mail at