GOOD DESIGN: It’s all about making clients happy at Montgomery’s B. Barganier Interiors


In the late 1990s, Bill Barganier was working as a junior associate for a Montgomery interior design firm when he met a client, Robin Kromis, and the two hit it off. “We just became fast friends and still are to this day,” Bill said. “She always used to joke that we should open a business together.

Eventually they got serious about the idea, and when Bill decided to leave his previous position in November 2000, Robin and her husband Andy joined him in establishing B. Barganier Interiors. “By April 1, 2001, we were up and running and have been ever since,” Bill said.

Bill Barganier and Beverly Johnson are the designers for B. Barganier Interiors in Montgomery’s Zelda Place shopping center. “My job is a lot on the road,” said Bill. “Beverly is in the store every day.”

The interior design business opened a storefront in Zelda Place shopping center in midtown Montgomery, relocating within the same shopping center in 2005. In addition to complete design services to fit any budget, B. Barganier also sells home furnishings or gift items through a unique and eclectic store. “We’ve pretty much kept the same concept. Our concept was that we wanted to be able to be helpful to anyone from a newlywed to somebody who has an unlimited budget.

When the store opened, Andy Kromis served as business manager until he passed away in 2012. “I was very blessed to have Andy,” Bill said, noting that the business part is not his strength. “You have to do the paperwork, pay the bills, pay the taxes, and that’s just something that I’ve never had to worry about.” Robin has been the buyer from the beginning and continued her role in the company when she moved to Atlanta, after her husband’s death, to be near their daughter, Erin Connolly. Connolly took over her dad’s role as business manager and is now one of the co-owners. “I feel like we’re almost family,” said Bill.

Today the store has a total of five employees — among them, designer Beverly Johnson. “She is my right hand. I could not do it without her.

Comfort and Function
Bill can work with what a client already has, including family pieces or heirlooms, or start from scratch. “We don’t have a specific taste. It’s the client that we’re mostly concerned with.” As he gets to know his clients, he learns what they like and don’t like, and they depend on his judgment. As is often the case, when furniture is custom ordered, the client relies on Bill to verify comfort and function.

Functionality is key,” he says. With the performance fabrics available today, Bill explained, there are ways for furniture to be stylish, comfortable, functional, kid friendly and pet friendly — and not be a room where you don’t feel you can touch anything. “If I know something’s not comfortable, I’m not going to show it to somebody,” he added.

Wait times for deliveries have eased up lately, but they do make a point to check fabric availability before they show it to a client. “I always tell my clients, it’s worth the wait.”

Happy Clients
Bill admitted, “My favorite thing ever is install days.” That’s when he completes the installation while the client is away, then makes the reveal as the client returns and sees everything in its place. They’re just “so happy.”

Half of his clients come through referral, and local clients make up about 60% of his design business. Yet even that other 40% often come from a local connection. “My philosophy is a happy client is a repeat client and tells their family, their friends, their neighbors.

What they’re doing is working. “It’s just basically all word of mouth how this store and my reputation got off the ground,” he said. In April, B. Barganier Interiors is approaching a 22nd anniversary having had their best year ever in 2022. “I just think you have to love what you do, love your clients, totally be fair and upfront. And that’s just the way I’ve always operated.”

B. Bargainer Interiors at 2960 Zelda Road, Suite B, in Montgomery is open 9:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Monday-Thursday and 9:30 a.m.-5 p.m. Fridays. Besides design services, the store sells furniture, home décor, lighting and bedding. Visit online at

Story by Minnie Lamberth
Photos by Nancy King Dennis

Also find this article on Pages 8 and 9
of the February 2023 Alabama Retailer.