Rick Meyer #36 ‘Gone but not forgotten’

Home Column Rick Meyer #36 'Gone but not forgotten'

With this being the penultimate issue of FCNews for 2021, I wanted to circle back to something I mentioned after our 35th anniversary issue hit the streets. I asked readers to let me know their thoughts on people they believed were omitted from our various lists. One name that repeatedly came up was Ulrich (Rick) Meyer, who founded Carpetland USA. While Meyer was mentioned in at least four sections in that issue, many felt he should have been included in our 35 “Gone But Not Forgottens.” Admittedly, we can’t include everyone, but Meyer certainly has his supporters. I thought I would publish two of the emails stating a case for his inclusion.

From Peter Collaros, a former Carpetland USA team member:

I have enjoyed reading FCNews for close to 30 years. I have looked forward to reading past-year articles about the history of the floor covering industry and the fascinating profiles of the industry icons. I truly enjoyed reading the 35th anniversary edition. However, when I read the section, “Gone but not forgotten,” while you included definitely worthy individuals, you did not include Ulrich (Rick) Meyer, which I feel is a major omission of one of the pioneers of the retail flooring industry. Rick was a driving force of franchising in floor covering retail starting in the 1970s that later led to the floor covering buying groups. Rick worked with retail and installer team members from the original Munster, Ind., location to create and finance startup Carpetland USA locations throughout the Midwest.

As I am sure others have mentioned to you, Carpetland USA was a quiet company that was a leader in the flooring industry, led by an extraordinary individual in Rick Meyer. Rick’s incredible life story of personal resolve and resiliency was instrumental in him creating a corporate culture that valued relationships, demanded excellence while working with its employees in their times of crisis and need. I truly believe that young people in the flooring industry could learn a great deal from Rick Meyer’s story of how he grew an organization into a retail powerhouse whose legacy lives on today through the many second- or third-generation franchisees that continue to prosper today.

I truly considered it a privilege to work for Rick Meyer and Carpetland USA through many years of its growth. His brilliance as a retailer certainly changed my business career in a positive manner, but more importantly my life was changed by him. I was proud to be a part of the Carpetland USA family and will continue to be always.

I would ask that you update your story to include this extraordinary individual who enriched the lives of so many inside his organization as well as served as a model and innovator in the flooring industry.

And the following from David Brownlee, another former Carpetland USA employee:

Congratulations on the 35 years of FCNews , which I have enjoyed receiving for all of those 35 years. Your 35th anniversary edition is packed full of years and years of fond memories. However, I was very disappointed when I opened page 48, which featured 35 of those who are “Gone But Not Forgotten.” You did not include Rick Meyer, who was the pioneer in franchising of floor covering retail, which led to the formation of the buying groups.

Starting in the 1970s, Rick took sales and installer associates from his Munster, Ind., store and financed their startup of Carpetland USA stores throughout the Midwest and beyond. Many of those retail operations have expanded to multiple locations and are now in the second and third generation of family ownership, such as Carpetland USA-The Langan Group of Iowa and Illinois; Carpetland USA of Virginia; CarpetsPlus of Wisconsin; Carpetland USA of Dothan, Ala.; Carpetland USA of Appleton, Wis.; and Carpet One of Ft. Wayne, Ind., to name a few. Rick was inducted into the WFCA’s Hall of Fame in 1994. He passed away in 2016. Not only is Rick remembered, his life lives on in those he helped and was associated with for over 60 years.

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Dec. 6/13, 2021

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