Although not the biggest dog on the interior design company porch, Goebel’s Forecaster Interior Designs is the oldest - established locally in 1935. And, as a designer family, history will be made soon when they celebrate a century of service.

"My grandfather got things started with a furniture company in Kansas City, Missouri, in 1910," says Roger Goebel, owner and principle designer. "When family members came to Arizona in the late 1920s, my seamstress grandmother got to work and my father started selling her drapery products. So, as a family furnishing facility, we’ve been in continuous operation for one hundred years come September 2010 - and that’s when we’re scheduling the party."

Goebel, now 62, says as a tot he played with cutting room cloth scraps that fell to his level and started helping by putting furniture together and making deliveries in his early teens. It was almost presumptive that he and his two brothers would participate in the family business although he did the usual dreaming about other professions and even worked as a product sales representative and a frozen pretzel salesman for a time.

"I’ve been here ever since I graduated in 1968 with a BA in interior design, so it’s been pretty much a lifelong occupation and preoccupation," he says, noting that he hopes his 28-year-old son Chad, currently an employee, will assume company reins when he steps back.

In the meantime, he still enjoys reviewing past successes, working on current projects, and looking ahead to the future.

"Although we’re home grown and based here in mid-town, in Tucson at the current time, there’s not much going on. We have a huge project in a $115 million hotel development in San Carlos, Mexico; another hotel going up in California; a very large senior living project in Green Valley - but as far as Tucson," he says, scratching his head, "it’s kind of strange to have nothing on our schedule calendar at the moment."

That doesn’t happen often for a company that has established a reputation for fresh, cutting edge, user-friendly interiors.

"I think we’re probably the largest provider of design-for-fee services. We make our living selling concepts and implementing those ideas," he says.

He’s done so at Fox Restaurant Concepts restaurants including North and Wildflower as well as a host of other well-known local eateries including Terra Cotta.

"When we first started, our biggest clients were banks, but then free-standing banks changed to where they’re now housed inside supermarkets. So we got into medical and educational facilities and then kind of flowed into the restaurant field," he said. "For nearly a decade, we used to advertise, ‘We did your favorite restaurant,’ because we did so many of them. Now we’re staying busy working with the hospitality industry, retirement facilities, and other commercial projects."

Goebel’s is a local business operation with an extended reach into California, Colorado, and Mexico.

"We sell concept and do the interior design portion of any type of business, restaurant or hotel construction. At the hotel in Mexico, we’re doing it all - the lobby interiors, rooms, health clubs, Mercado, three restaurants, the entire thing," he said. ""Although we’re a Tucson firm, our reach is extended to wherever someone needs decorating ideas. About 90 percent of the jobs that we’ve done outside of town are for companies that are or were located in Tucson. We work well with independent architects that do work around the country and when we get the chance, we jump on board to partner with them."

Roger Goebel can assume the role of player or principle depending on client need.

"It’s up to them," he says. "A guy like Sam Fox will come in with a ready-made concept and we work with him to ensure his vision. Others come in with a memory of something they saw elsewhere and a desire to put that look together locally. Or some clients have come in and said, OK, you’ve got 4,000 square feet. Make it look pretty."

Asked for a company mission statement, written initially perhaps 40 years ago, he pauses, bemused, and says, "Our catch phrase is ‘new design for better business’ - not necessarily a mission statement, per se, but that’s what we set out do to for our clients. What we’ve done all these years is slowly built our business by doing things right and treating people correctly. Even today, despite larger clients, you still go pretty much one on one and very little gets lost in the translation. We continue to hit the mark set by our clients."

Despite his years in the business, creative projects are still fun for Goebel who stays busy in the current market, tries to squeeze in some travel/boating/fishing/golfing time, and notes: "When the cycle rebounds and activity levels pick up again, we’ll be ready and waiting to play our part."

 Lee Allen is a Tucson-based freelance writer.