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Chattanooga, TN — 10/29/18 CarpetsPlus COLORTILE recently held its member Summit in Gainesville, FL, at the Hilton University of Florida Conference Center, October 20-22. CarpetsPlus COLORTILE members Steve Elder and Josh Elder, owners of Gainesville CarpetsPlus COLORTILE, 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.

Ron Dunn opens General Session

Ron Dunn, Alliance Flooring co-CEO, began the Summit Opening Session by saying, “Summits are one of my favorite things we do. It’s easy to get into a particular mindset while running your business day in and day out. The goal is to take away two or three things to implement immediately. Then take maybe three or four more to put on the back burner for later.”

Stephen Elder, host store owner, speaks to fellow members in General Session

During the General Session, Stephen and Josh Elder shared information about how they got started in apartment flooring as Commercial Carpet and Flooring by renting his first space in a warehouse park in 1978. He moved twice and then in 1985 purchased his first building, a gas station, which was home until he built his current store in 2007. This 7,000 square foot building houses offices, a showroom and a warehouse.

They also shared what has worked for them to achieve this level of success. During the General Session, store tour and Q & A Panel, they shared many best practices about retail sales, warehouse operations, kitchen and bath and builder/multi-family. As a father and son team, they shared their insights on how they have faced one of the most critical and toughest challenges for a business: succession planning.

Store staff answer questions during the Q&A panel discussion

A recurring theme that filled each of their talks about business was simply “people”. Steve said, “Where I find my strength a lot of times is in the people around me. I’ve been blessed.” He added, “We invest in our people because they’ve invested in us. We try to help them even outside of typical business situations. Once I loaned an installer money at no interest for a van when his broke down. Our staff and installers help us make money. We reward loyalty and take care of those who have stuck with us.” Many of his installers will not install for anyone else and have been installing for him for over two decades.

Members and mill reps feel the supplier roundtable event is effective

Steve also shared one reason why he belongs to CarpetsPlus. “When you run into a situation you can’t get resolved you have someone to go to for some protection and help. That’s one reason we belong to CarpetsPlus.”

The Summit featured a supplier roundtable event where members spent approximately 12 minutes speaking with 25 different suppliers one-on-one about their products, services or just asking questions and getting answers. After the supplier roundtable, Doug Young and David Stowell of Schonox presented a live demo of their products.

After the roundtable event, Kevin Logue, Alliance Flooring’s co-COO and vice president of marketing, thanked all members and suppliers for participating and strengthening their great working relationship. He said, “These roundtables are a very helpful event for suppliers, members as well as for us to see where members are currently, what their concerns are and how they see the future.”

Ryan Dunn and Kevin Logue host a CarpetsPlus roundtable

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.”

Staff and ownership

During the Appreciation reception and dinner, members thanked Steve and Josh Elder and their team for opening their doors, sharing their challenges, their solutions, methods and insights into their success.

At the end of each Summit, the Star of the Summit award is presented to members who show a noticeable willingness to participate, ask questions and show interest in what is being presented. There were two winners for 2018 and they were Don and Tina Black of The Floor Store, Cleveland, GA, and Kelli Kadlec of Floor Craft, Colorado Springs, CO.

It was a weekend full of information, networking and insight not found anywhere else in the industry.

Don and Tina Black (on left) and Kelli Kadlec (right) win Star of Summit Awards