Couristan celebrates 85-plus years

Home Inside FCNews Couristan celebrates 85-plus years

When Basil and George Couri, and David Murad started their company in 1926, they probably didn’t know it would have something many companies can only hope to have: staying power.

“Changing products has kept us in the forefront of what the consumer wanted,” said Ron Couri, president and CEO of Couristan. “Every decade, we have done things that have kept us ahead and have kept us around.”

Started in New York City as Couri Murad & Co., later known as Couri Brothers and then Couristan, the company was established as a direct importing business specializing in handmade area rugs from Persia. After establishing a presence in the market, the company began importing area rugs from India in 1927.

After the stock market crash in 1929 and the ensuing economic depression, Couri Brothers did not rest on its laurels. It continued to expand as a global importer and in the 1930s, the company began importing hand-hooked rugs from China and hand-braided rugs from Japan.

In the 1950s, the company started diversifying into residential broadloom designs. Couri explained that in order to help build their brand in the U.S., Couri Brothers began leasing department store spaces—about six of them—in major department stores throughout the country. After seeing success with the residential designs, the company used this as the foundation of Couristan’s Hospitality Concepts Contract Custom Carpeting Division.

In 1961, the company was able to produce a power-loomed area rug collection inspired by original handmade Oriental and Persian designs at a fraction of the cost due to breakthroughs in weaving technology. Kashima, one of the company’s best-selling area rugs, was born from this technology.

Today, Couristan’s handmade assortment consists of more than 35 area rug collections. The company continues to import handmade area rugs from China as well as from India, Nepal and Pakistan. In addition, Couristan’s power-loomed assortment now includes 30 collections, imported from such countries as Belgium, Turkey and China.

But the company didn’t break ground only in the early stages of its development. In 2003, Couristan introduced the Recife Collection, made specifically for outdoor use. According to Couri, this helped put the company’s name back on the map as an industry leader. Power-loomed of 100% Courtron polypropylene, UV stabilized and mold and mildew resistant, the launch of the Recife Collection was a major turning point for the company and opened new channels of distribution for it. “Outdoor rugs have been a growing part of the business,” Couri said.

Even going through a second economic depression and the changing face of consumer shopping with the presence of the Internet can’t deter Couri and his company from setting their sights on continued growth. “Our goals are to keep growing. 2007 was our best year and 2010 showed a turnaround for us. Our hospitality side is booked out through 2012.”

Although the company has seemingly tackled the residential market, hospitality segment and outdoor spaces, Couri said that it still has work to do to keep up with every aspect of the industry—from consumer needs to technology—in order to meet its ultimate goal. “I hope to be around for 100 years. We have a good team and I look forward to keeping it going and see if we can pass it down to our kids.”

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