FlorStar: Building a business based on service

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February 13/20, 2017: Volume 31, Number 18

The following feature is the second installment in a series highlighting the 14 distributors that constitute Bravo Services, a group comprising many of the top flooring wholesalers in the country. Here we focus on FlorStar Sales, whose origins are rooted in the 19th century.

FlorStar’s modern history began in May 1988 when Wade Cassidy, current owner and chairman, led a management buyout of the flooring division from Carson Pirie Scott & Co. The highly leveraged transaction was not lacking in risk—Cassidy and other managers put up their homes and provided personal guarantees to secure necessary financing. Fortunately, their entrepreneurial spirit, work ethic and support from vendors and customers allowed FlorStar to persevere.

FlorStar reflects its chairman’s humble origins. Cassidy grew up living over a chicken coop in rural Maryland and, as the oldest among his siblings, worked multiple jobs while attending school to help support his family.

In February 2005, the company moved to its current headquarters and main stocking warehouse located in Romeoville, Ill. In 2008, FlorStar entered the hardwood sundries and supplies business via acquisition and has continued building its presence in that space. Ownership consistently has embraced technology and reinvested in systems and its people. FlorStar was among the first in the industry to configure its warehouses with space-saving, narrow aisle racking and wire-guided turret vehicles. The firm’s long-tenured management team, averaging more than 20 years of FlorStar experience, is also relatively youthful with employees in their mid-40s on average.

“Wade’s fair and ethical treatment of customers, vendors and employees, as well as his constant reinvestment in the business, motivates folks to do business here, come here and stay here,” said Scott Rozmus, who was named CEO on Feb. 1.

Among the more significant challenges the flooring industry faces is the decline in the number of independent floor covering retailers and qualified installers. FlorStar addresses these challenges by, among other things, adopting policies and programs to support independent retail. Whether through flexible credit, just-in-time inventory services, technical support, training, participation in organizations or otherwise, FlorStar promotes and encourages the growth of healthy, independent retailers and highly qualified installers.

Going above & beyond
FlorStar has had sales professionals drive six hours to obtain and drop off additional material a dealer needed to complete a job… After the terrorist attacks on 9/11, when all the airports were shut down and no rental cars were available, the company gave someone who had been stranded a lift in one of its trucks (in the cab, not the van) so he could get to his home six hours away.

Nuts & bolts
Geographic coverage: All or part of 10 states: Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota and Wisconsin.
Brands: Armstrong, BASF, Bella Cera, Bruce, FlorStar Glass Mosaics, FlorStar Porcelain Naturals, From the Forest, Healthier Choice, Homerwood, Inhaus, Lauzon, Milliken, Mullican Flooring, Next Floor Carpet Tile, Qu-Cork, Sika, Sound Seal and VPI.

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