About The Duck Blind
The Duck Blind opened its doors January 1, 1984 in the small southern Michigan village of Hickory Corners. The original shop consisted of two rooms in the back of an Antique shop and after several expansions gradually took over the entire building, replacing antiques with carving tools. While in that facility, owners Willy and Diane McDonald increased their customer base by traveling to shows around the country and introduced carvers and artists to The Duck Blind’s "success recipe" of combining personal attention with education and service after the sale.
The education part of that formula opened the door to a brand new business avenue as the McDonald’s realized the decoy carving community was lacking good visual reference on the live North American waterfowl. After extensive investigation, an Aviary was built and over 20 species of ducks were purchased. It was soon discovered that something beyond one-dimensional photos was needed to portray the true essence of the bird. That something turned out to be video. Extensive video taping of 10 puddle duck and 10 diver duck species in the Duck Blind Aviary resulted in a great “live bird” reference DVD titled North American Waterfowl. The video montage coupled with over 50 photo packs available, makes The Duck Blind a leading source for carving and artists wildfowl reference.
Another very successful area that grew up within the Duck Blind framework is carving classes. Willy McDonald’s natural ability as a teacher came to light as more and more students signed up for carving classes. His aptitude for breaking down the carving process into easy to understand steps has brought praise from every division of the carving society. From adult education classes at Michigan State University to private seminars across the country, Willy McDonald is sought after for Carving, Painting and Air Brush education. Now the Duck Blind has taken the next logical step by capturing Willy’s teachings on video tape and DVD for the education of carvers everywhere.
In 1999 the decision was made to move the Duck Blind Retail store to the Internet. This decision was difficult for a "true" Mom and Pop type business that was founded on personal contact and service to the customer, but the possibility of connecting to the worldwide carving community proved to be irresistible.
Even though The Duck Blind moved into the new millennium in a very complex way, the same "down home personal service" can always be expected. The early motto of personal attention combined with education and service after the sale continues today and will always be the success link between The Duck Blind and it’s customers worldwide.
In 2007, Willy McDonald was recognized with the prestigious Michigan Heritage Award for his contributions in preserving and fostering the traditional art form of Decoy Carving. His ability as a teacher and master artisan was highlighted with participation in the Michigan State University's Traditional Arts Apprenticeship Program with awards for mentoring two separate apprentices.