Meet The Team


Fred Kumpel | Owner

It’s not often that a part-time job in high-school turns into a full-time passion and career, but for Wilmington native, Fred Kumpel, that was the case. Fred started working for Strickland’s after school at just 17 years old. He liked the environment and the atmosphere, so continued working with Strickland’s Blinds, Shades & Shutters while in college. When Fred decided becoming a famous musician wasn’t in the cards, he declared Business Management as his major.

After graduation from UNC-W, Fred went full-time with Strickland’s, eagerly learning everything that his mentor, Mr. Strickland, could teach him about the business. It wasn’t long before Fred had assumed a strong leadership role, managing the store and innovating changes that would help the long-time window coverings business keep pace with an ever-changing marketplace. When Mr. Strickland decided to retire, he offered Fred Kumpel first option to purchase the family business.

Since 2008, Fred has successfully blended the best of the Strickland family legacy for superior customer service with the latest products and newest technologies. He has revived the window coverings repair center (one of the few on the East Coast), expanded the commercial and specialty branches of the business, and added a new division, Carolina Closet Company, to the Strickland’s portfolio of products and services.

An active member in the local business networking community, Fred devotes a lot of time to supporting community and church-sponsored events. When he’s not helping the local community or helping others improve their properties with new window coverings and custom-built organizational systems, Fred works on his own home improvement projects and the Honey-Do list his sweet wife, Melissa, keeps updated at all times.


Chris de Jong | Sales Manager

It’s been nearly 25 years since Chris de Jong started working at Strickland’s Blinds, Shades & Shutters as a part-time installer while he studied Business Management at UNC-W. After college, when a full-time position opened in the sales department, Chris didn’t hesitate to claim it as his new career.

A Wilmington native, Chris has watched both his hometown and the industry grow by leaps and bounds: “The view from my ‘office’ changes daily, since I spend the majority of my time meeting with contractors, architects, interior designers, and homeowners in the Greater Wilmington area,”, he explains. “I love learning about each project and making recommendations based on the nearly 500 window covering products we carry. Between meeting new people and keeping on top of the latest trends and technologies in our industry, the one constant in my job is that every day is different.”

When he’s not working on the commercial projects or homes of others, Chris enjoys working on his own house. He even makes his own furniture! An avid reader, Chris also likes traveling and dabbling in photography.

Laura Salo | Operations Manager & Film Sales Rep

Laura Salo knows a thing or two about charming coastal towns. 11 years ago, she made Wilmington, NC her home when she decided to move from Cape Cod, MA to the warmer Carolinas. (She grew up in West Virginia and has family near Greensboro, NC)

Laura already had experience in the window coverings industry when she arrived at Strickland’s in 2003. Over the past 11 years, her role has grown to include much more than scheduling appointments and repairs or overseeing the administrative side of orders. She explains: “As the area’s most reputable window coverings provider, we work on historically important properties, film projects, and residences for celebrities who live or vacation in the Wilmington area. They often have special requests like finding period specific materials or overnighting samples to meet a tight deadline. Part of my job is handling those requests.”

In her spare time, Laura likes to ride bicycles with her daughter, work in the yard, and spend time with friends. During football season, she cheers for her favorite NFL team, the Greenbay Packers. In addition, Laura is working on a detailed dollhouse project with the “help” of her 9-year-old daughter (who also enjoys jumping on the trampoline and dancing). When asked if the dollhouse has window coverings, Laura laughs, “Not yet, but I sure know where to get them when the time comes!”


Jamey Carver | Installation Manager

Originally from Florida, Jamey moved to Wilmington in 1996. He spent more than 15 years working as a carpenter before he found his professional home at Strickland’s. With expertise in areas like custom trim, decks, and exterior wood projects, his skill set was a natural fit for our closet and window treatment installations. Jamey’s talents don’t stop there; he also spent several years learning and perfecting other sides of the construction trade, including: tiling, plumbing, electrical, painting, and more. A lover of good food, fine wine, great books, and sad movies, in his spare time, Jamey enjoys spending quality time with family and friends. Jamey’s also an avid gardener, and he likes building hydroponic systems so much that he’ll make one for anybody who’s interested!


Keecha Anderson | Accountant

Keecha Anderson started working for Strickland’s Blinds, Shades & Shutters nearly five years ago, assisting Mr. Strickland in the field and helping in the showroom on the weekends.

Today, she is the company’s full-time bookkeeper and the person responsible for creating a welcoming, tidy, and well-organized showroom. A native Wilmingtonian, Keecha had previously worked as a childcare teacher and office administrator, but she feels she has found a professional home with the Strickland’s Window Covering team. She explains: “It is a privilege to work in a company that allows people to learn and grow not only in their profession, but also as individuals. The management team believes in integrity and strong business ethics, and that means a lot to me.”

A devoted mother of two, Keecha spends her free time bonding with her children: “My son loves motor cross and boxing, so I enjoy slinging mud and hanging tough right with him! My daughter enjoys baking and reading, so we spend time creating our own custom confections and ‘travelling’ through books at the local bookstores.” Keecha also volunteers at her church and cares for her 90-year-old grandmother, whom she cites as a major inspiration in her life.


Mike Philpot | Customer Service

Mike Philpot is Strickland’s Blinds, Shades & Shutters’ ever-friendly and welcoming showroom host. A native Kentuckian, Mike grew up with “a vegetable garden the size of a neighborhood,” got a degree in electronics, and ran his own kitchen and bathroom remodeling company before relocating to NC. Originally an installer for Strickland’s, Mike now enjoys working in the showroom for one important reason: the people. As he puts it, “I love talking to people, making them laugh, and being of service.” When Mike isn’t in the showroom helping a customer or volunteering after hours, he enjoys “normal grandpa stuff” with his 6 grandchildren. He also likes to relax in the Rocky Point home he shares with his wife of 9 years and their two rescue cats, Simon and Carson.

  • Dream view: “I have it!” say Mike, “My backyard which looks out on the woodlands of Holly Shelter Game Land.”
  • Favorite Window Treatment: Banded shades – “They’re just so cool!”
Mike Philpot

Communities We Serve

Strickland's Blinds, Shades & Shutters proudly serves Bald Head Island, Bolivia, Burgaw, Carolina Beach, Castle Hayne, Hampstead, Holden Beach, Jacksonville, Kure Beach, Leland, Long Beach, North Myrtle Beach, Porters Neck, Topsail Island, St. James Plantation, Shallotte, Southport, Sunset Beach, Surf City, Wallace, Whiteville, Wilmington, and Wrightsville Beach.