Chattanooga, TN — 10/1/16 CarpetsPlus COLORTILE recently held its 2016 Summit in Pittsburgh, at the Sheraton Station Square, September 24-26. CarpetsPlus COLORTILE member Stacey Pape, owner of SP Floors & Design Center in McMurray, PA, hosted the event.
CarpetsPlus COLORTILE Summits enhance member businesses through networking, sharing best practices, and training. These events are hosted by a CarpetsPlus COLORTILE member who opens his or her business for the benefit of the group.
The event opened on Saturday night with the Gateway Clipper ferrying members from the hotel to PNC Park. The picturesque weather, rolling hills and long-gone steel mill smoke stacks along the Ohio River highlighted the trip. The Miller Lite patio overlooking the field, down the third-base line provided an ideal setting for everyone to meet, greet and catch up while taking in a major league baseball game.
The following morning, Ron Dunn, co-CEO, began the Opening Session, “As you walk around in the store, listen and discuss ideas, pick out three to four things to take back with you. I always hear someone who’s been in the industry 30 or 40 years say ‘Why didn’t I think of that?’ after our Summits. What are your takeaways going to be?”
Dunn introduced the owner of SP Floors, Stacey Pape, and gave a little background on how she got her start, “You’re going to see a seven year old business that, in the beginning, started in a basement. Those seven years were backed by over three decades of ownership experience and relationship building. This business was spawned out of adversity, but it was launched and fueled by vision, commitment and an undeniable determination to take care of customers and builders with whom long standing trust and strong working relationships had been formed.”
Pape added, “This Summit was 18 months in the works. My staff worked extremely hard during that time and built something amazing. It was challenging at times but we came through it and I’m very proud of what we all accomplished.”
“This Summit has allowed us the opportunity to go above and beyond. Our staff is motivated and excited to come to work with all of the updates and changes. We have created a feel good environment. You can only fly by the seat of your pants for so long, but there comes a time when you want to deal in volume and you really have to understand how one thing affects another and that’s what I think these Summits are all about. This is why I joined CarpetsPlus. They give us the tools to succeed as a large or a small store,” she added.
At the conclusion of the Opening Session, the group began loading the buses and departed for the Store Tour. The entire SP Floors team greeted members as they filed off the buses. Once everyone had gotten their lunch, Pape and Veronica Sutyak, general manager of SP Floors, introduced staff members and recognized them for their hard work.
Stacey’s team then took their places inside the store as everyone was separated into two groups to go on the tour. There were two main areas of focus for each group for the tour – the new Destination showroom and the builder selection center. The Destination showroom, unveiled for the first time here, is the group’s first fully furnished Destination showroom. Introduced in 2015, this program started as the Destination Carpet Boutique and has now expanded to include hard surfaces and displays that emphasize fashion and higher-end goods.
“We wanted to get our members excited by showing them a high-end example of possibilities. We’re asking them to dedicate 1,000 square feet of their showroom to this next step. And in 1,000 feet we can make someone’s showroom really look fresh again,” added Jon Logue, co-CEO.
The Destination showroom currently includes 10 displays such as the Color Destination, Performance Destination, Fashion Destination, Pattern Destination and Design Destination, among others. As always, members have the option of taking on as many displays as they need or none at all.
The 400-square-foot builder selection center is another focal point for members. “We developed our builder system over these last seven years. This system can be used for a few builders or a large production builder. You have to develop something that works on all different levels. If you allocate just a little bit of space, you can build a successful builder selection center really inexpensively.”
Several years ago, SP Floors partnered with Maronda Homes, a large builder in western Pennsylvania, to create the new department. Buyers can make an appointment to visit the showroom and select new flooring, countertops and cabinets through a spreadsheet program with drop-down menu options. All the samples are there for them to browse with the help of their in-house interior designer.
“What’s really nice about it is we’re able to help the homeowner pull it all together in one place,” Pape said. “The initial set-up for the builder selection center did take some time, it’s definitely worth it at the end of the day.” SP Floors works with 10 builders in their the local market.
Also during the store visit, members got a full tour of Web Pro 3.0, the group’s newly updated online digital marketing program offering search engine optimization, a monthly Google Analytics report, videos and other content along with other tools that can be customized for members.
“We’ve gotten nothing but positive reviews,” said David Ellis, advertising and public relations manager for CarpetsPlus COLORTILE, who gave a demo of the program during the summit. “This is more than a website. It’s a marketing program that provides a lot of tools for members to get their businesses to the next level in their local markets.”
When the group returned from the store tour, they had an opportunity to ask questions of the host store staff. Ryan Dunn opened the Q and A session and then gave the floor to the eight staff members on stage. Many questions were asked and among them were: how did you pick your floors and design, how do you handle scheduling, and others.
On Sunday, the members continued to learn and were given face time with several suppliers during the Supplier Roundtable event at the hotel. The list of attending suppliers kept growing with the insistence by suppliers that they attend and be a part of this event. There was a strong energy buzz throughout the day with insights, applications and relationship building.
Karndean put together an installation demo that included several new products. John Jarvis, Karndean installation trainer, explained that Karndean products can be used to create very unique, almost unlimited designs for their customers as well as showing them on their own showroom floors. John Callahan of Karndean then announced a winner and runner up in a design contest for the group. Travis Robison of Red Mountain Flooring in Idaho Falls, ID, won first place with his design of a grizzly bear. DeGeus CarpetsPlus was runner up with a hopscotch design.
Kevin Logue, co-COO remarked about the roundtable event, “Thanks to all for working as a group and strengthening this great working relationship we have with industry suppliers. These roundtables are a very helpful event for suppliers, members as well as us to see where members are currently, what their concerns are and how they see the future.”
Suppliers were also thankful to participate in the Summit and made some observations. A major mill executive said, “I do not see anyone else in the industry go to this effort to truly share best practices first-hand and the rare opportunity to visit a member store to see how to potentially use ideas to improve your business. Member Summits are unique to CarpetsPlus.”
On Monday, during the Appreciation Banquet, nearly 150 people joined in thanking Pape, Sutyak and their team for opening their doors, sharing their challenges, their struggles, their methods and insights into their success.
At the end of each Summit, the Star of the Summit award is presented to the member who shows a noticeable willingness to participate, asks questions and shows interest in what is being presented. There were two winners for 2016 and they were Jon Cantor of Lake Interiors Paint & Floors, Chelan, WA, and Kate Butcher of Hoosier’s CarpetsPlus COLORTILE of Bloomington, IN.
Jon Cantor remarked after winning the award, “I was surprised to hear I won the “Star of the Summit” award, especially since this was my first Summit. But I’m glad to be able to come back with this award and some great ideas.”
In conclusion, Ryan Dunn, co-COO, commended the host store, “Stacey, you have built something amazing here. I want to thank you and your team for your determination to stick with it through all the adversity you’ve faced over these last 18 months.”
After Pape’s recognition as the host store of the Summit, she talked about what it like having the Summit at her store and the importance of making sure they prepared well for fellow members, “I think it’s important to think outside of the box when you’re being judged by your peers. I told my staff, ‘these are people taking their time out of their bust schedule and spending their money to see what we do. Every display you place, how you present things, how the store looks, it means something. Put yourself in their shoes.’ I feel like we accomplished what we set out to accomplish. I hope you got something out of it. Thank you to Veronica, Mike, and the rest of my staff for your hard work.”