Growing up in Jacksonville, Fla., Marquis Wright may have lacked some of the material possessions that other kids his age took for granted. But one thing he never lacked was a willingness to work hard and do things the right way.
At age 21 he founded Mr. Wright Flooring, an installation company in Jacksonville comprising mostly family members that he built into a successful enterprise.
In the ensuing 10 years, Wright has become one of the most visible people in the flooring installation world—and perhaps the face of a new generation.
When the Floor Covering Education Foundation (FCEF) was launched in December 2019, Scott Humphrey, CEO of the WFCA, asked Wright to join them. He obliged and now works with Jim Aaron, executive director, and Kaye Whitener, director of operations. “[Marquis Wright] is literally a poster child for the FCEF and the possibilities offered through his trade,” Humphrey said.
Today, Wright is in the process of purchasing a flooring business in the Jacksonville area to add to his business portfolio. Wright recently spoke with FCNews senior editor, Ken Ryan, about his ascent in the flooring industry.
What attracted you to the flooring industry?
Seventy-five dollars a day and helping my neighbor was what got me into the flooring industry. Not like $75 was a lot of money, but I never minded hard work and I looked at it like I got paid to learn a skill. It was the beginning stages of learning how to build a business. Plus, I heard [my neighbor] made $200K/year as the owner—legally—so, that sealed the deal for me. Win-win for both parties. I didn’t know of an industry that
paid that much or where I had access to make that type of cash.
What motivates you?
That’s an interesting question. I’d like to say somewhere in my childhood trauma of being poor plays a huge part in my motivation. I remember my mom did not have a car at one point and would be crying about it and she told me not to ever be poor like her. I remember walking home, I was about 7 years old, and that walk home was like the walk of shame for me.
In the end, I naturally want to feel fulfilled and play an important role, one that gives me a sense of purpose. On days where I relax and do nothing, I feel bad and guilty because I feel there’s more for me to do.
You have become one of the most visible people in flooring installation. Do you see yourself as a role model?
I’d like to say I’m a fairly decent balance between being the example and being human—not a role model, though. I see myself as a mentor, occasionally, and will share what little information I know with anyone if it helps them. I used to be pushy and put everyone to sleep by educating them with new information that I had just learned. I think I had the wrong audience, though.
You might be buying a flooring store. How is that going?
Yes, I’m working toward it. The business plan is in the process of being worked up now so I’m waiting on that. In the meantime, I’m not rushing it—just learning as much as I can. The store has always been in my vision. I don’t see myself installing for the rest of my life, and I figured it only makes sense to transition into a field I have knowledge in. This opportunity just presented itself.
What are you most proud of in your career so far?
I’m most proud that 10 years ago I started Mr. Wright Flooring and overcame a lot of obstacles along the way. I wanted so badly to be where I am today. When I was much younger, I would literally cry while I was jogging because I would sometimes doubt this venture was possible.
How is your family business, Mr. Wright Flooring, doing?
My family business is in a great space, although we did downsize over the past year. Otherwise, it’s been healthy and I still have family working with me. The flooring industry changed my life. And now I’m helping my family change theirs.