Looking Glass opens downtownPublished 3:06pm Friday, July 12, 2013
Connie Gray got into computers on the ground floor.
The grandmother, who has lived in Dowagiac for 20 years and has a master’s degree in business administration, turned her broad skill set into a smorgasbord of services for business, marketing and office, plus greeting cards.
The Looking Glass, www.thelookingglassmi.com, opened June 17 at 109 Pennsylvania Ave. and was officially welcomed Thursday noon with a chamber of commerce ribbon-cutting attended by state Sen. John Proos, R-St. Joseph.
If The Looking Glass sounds familiar, it was a home-based business when Gray came to Dowagiac in 1993.
She showed the framed Daily News front page to the senator.
“I was working for Levi Strauss (in San Antonio) when I started working on computers,” she said. “I was getting promotions every year for what I was learning as we went from a mainframe to (personal computer)-based until I got to the corporate level. I was on the corporate level for three years, traveling 40 to 42 weeks a year. I went to their home base in San Francisco once a month.
“I came up with The Looking Glass because computers were magical to me. Now I do graphic design, turning their sketch into a camera-ready logo.”
Business services include proposals, menus, catalogs, websites, publications, brochures and programs.
Office services include data entry, copies, faxes, computer support, newsletters, labels, Spanish translation, shipping and mailroom services.
Gray offers such marketing tools as postcards, signs, posters, fliers, announcements, pamphlets, advertising and promotional products.
General services encompass resumes, cover letters, eBay sales, invitations, computer repair, websites and genealogy.
If needed, Gray can fall back on a niece in West Virginia who does data entry and a sister in Texas. The model is similar to her work for Eau Claire Fruit Exchange, where she “remotes in” for some duties.
It was through Eau Claire Fruit Exchange that she met her next-door neighbor, Karla Arndt, who opened Sew Can You Fashion Design School, where Gray’s 7-year-old granddaughter is learning to sew. The mother of two’s grandson turns 3 in August.
“You meet people for a reason,” Gray said.
She and her husband, Joe, who’s from here, met at Siena Heights College in Adrian in 1978. They live in a Victorian home two blocks north on Orchard Street.
Her workspace contains a photo of Bette Midler, whom she admires.
Contact The Looking Glass by phone at (269) 782-2053 or fax at 782-2323.