Randy Sorrell came home to Indiana with a chance to start with new slate.
“I turned my passion into my profession,” Sorrell said.
So Sorrell, 59, created what has become Surroundings By Natureworks+. The Carmel interior and exterior design business, owned by Sorrell and his wife, Kimberly, will celebrate its 25th anniversary with a public open house from 4 to 7 p.m. Aug. 23 at the Indiana Design Center store, 200 S. Range Line Rd., Suite 120-A.
Sorrell, who was then living in Dallas, started his own employee benefits firm and sold it to a national firm a few years later.
“We had our first child (Shelby), and a switch went off that we have to get home to the families,” said Sorrell, who also has another daughter, Sydney.
Sorrell is from Anderson and Kimberly is from Carmel.
The business began in Sorrell’s Carmel basement.
“It kept growing and growing, and we got incredibly fortunate we landed in the No. 1 city in the nation with the kind of demographic who loves outdoor living spaces,” Sorrell said. “I’m most proud of being here for 25 years. There are very few businesses that have survived that long.”
Seven years ago, Sorrell began a co-op.
“I took my best employees and spun them off into their own business with business modeling, finance and equipment,” Sorrell said. “Every year, they pay a small fee to join our co-op. They hire us to design, sell, project manage and collect. We turn around and hire them to do our install.”
The toughest time for the business was following the the Great Recession (December 2007 to June 2009).
“We had a handful of large projects that took us through the recession,” Sorrell said. “Then, when the recession ended, we felt the pain. We still maintained a profitable company during that time because we didn’t take a paycheck.”
Sorrell said the store’s longevity and success “is driven by the incredible talent we have been able to surround ourselves with and the generous Carmel community. Throw in a good business plan, wonderful supportive clients who embrace thoughtful design and a ton of perseverance.”
Sorrell said he is proud they have used that success to give back.
“The community and nonprofit involvement is part of our personal fabric and mission,” said Sorrell, who serves as chairman of the board of Fletcher Place Community Center. “I believe it’s why God has placed us in this community and industry. To not only create incredible living spaces that can change lives, impact families and save relationships, but also to impact those in need. Whether it’s feeding the hungry, building a Habitat house or at Fletcher Place Community Center breaking the cycle of poverty, starting with our pre-K program.”