FCNews asks: What have you done within the last year or two to breathe new life into your business?

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Jan 18/25; Volume 30/Number 15

By Amanda Haskin

Businesses must continuously move with the ebb and flow of the industry as well as individual markets. If a dealer is not adapting, experimenting and changing with the times, he will inevitably get left behind. The following retailers gave FCNews some insight as to how they keep up in the evolving landscape of the flooring world.

Joslyn Fairchild

House of Floors, Albuquerque, N.M.

“We previously had an employee handling our estimates. When he left, we decided to switch back to having Ryan [Fairchild, co-owner] go out to people’s houses to do the estimates and the feedback has been great. People feel there is really a connection when the owner of the business goes out himself and actually measures and puts quotes together. You’re not dealing with just an employee. A lot of people really appreciate him taking the time and interest in them and their homes. Having him gone is tough sometimes, but it works out. We’ve increased the hours of some of our other employees to help [balance] that and we have a really tremendous staff to help us.”

Ed Keller

Hadinger Flooring, Naples, Fla.

“We are moving into the kitchen and bathroom cabinet business. We asked ourselves, ‘How do we diversify and what do we need to diversify in?’ After thinking about it, it was decided that we pretty much do everything in kitchens and bathrooms already with the exception of cabinets, so it’s the perfect new product line and opportunity for us. That being said, we had to make room in this building, which meant going through and evaluating our entire product [selection] and eliminating some slices of the pie. We decided to expand our tile and stone business and reduce the number of carpet products sold on the floor. It was a total evaluation of where the business is coming from and what’s most profitable.”

Steve Lewis

Lewis Floor and Home, Northbrook, Ill.

“We’ve diversified our product mix and we’ve done a significant amount of business in window treatments. It’s certainly not just about carpet anymore—carpet is slightly less than half of our business as far as revenue. We’ve been in window treatments for 10 years but it was never the focus. We are currently moving [the category’s] location in the showroom so it’s in a much more prominent place. While the margins in window treatments are not fabulous, the average tickets are pretty good and it is an area that is underserved by our competition. And oftentimes, if [customers] are redoing the floors in a room, they’re redoing other things in the room, and that includes window treatments. So it makes all the sense in the world to try to sell different products at the same time.”

Brian DeOliveira

Diablo Flooring, three locations in California

“One thing that has changed is our Internet presence has become more important. People are looking for you; you have to Google your name and see how you’re rated. We’re also updating our website to make it mobile friendly. It’s about keeping up with the times. People today are ready to shop locally, whether it’s food, restaurants or flooring. I put a picture of my wife and kids on our Facebook page and local ads to show that we’re a part [of the community]. My daughter is on a swim team and my son is on a football team so we also advertise through their team websites and at home games. You have to keep your name out there.”

Nancy Haley

Haley’s Flooring and Interiors, Huntsville, Ala.

“The biggest thing that has changed is the way we are marketing our business; we’ve taken a totally different approach to it. We started doing much more targeted and strategic marketing, instead of marketing to the mass media and just hoping someone would see our ad. Two years ago, we did a Dream Kitchen Makeover and gave away a whole kitchen to someone in our community. That was a great experience. We also have a local home and garden show at our civic center. This past year we participated with a few other companies and [designed] The Idea & Inspiration House. The people who came were actually looking for ideas and looking to remodel, so we were able to showcase our products and all the things we offer.”

Robert Borgerson

Arizona Floors, Phoenix

“We’re selling a lot more wood plank tile. It’s the newest craze. We didn’t have much of it before, but now there’s such a broad selection and there are so many new styles. Over the past year, wood plank tile made up about 50% of our tile sales. It’s helped [our overall sales] because we probably have one of the better selections of wood plank tile in Arizona. I’ve dedicated about half of my showroom to different types of wood plank tile. I predict sales continuing to go up as more people become aware of it and how [well] it can [mimic] the look and feel of real wood.”

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