Guy Williams, owner of Factory Carpet Outlet in Pawtucket, Rhode Island, has been in the flooring business for 35 years and he knows his floor coverings. Not only does he have the kind of experience that only time can build, but he and his staff are also continuously learning as technology brings new advances.
“Our motto is to give people the type of flooring they need at a good honest value,” Williams says. “We sell any kind of covering that goes on a floor: carpet, vinyl, ceramic, wood, laminates, cork. We even have leather flooring. And anything on the floor that we sell, we also install.”
Asking questions; tracking trends
When a customer comes into the store to buy flooring the first thing Williams and his staff do is ask a series of questions to help them choose the right product. Factors like how much traffic the floor will receive, what type of décor and colors the customer is interested in and whether or not they have pets should all be part of the decision making process. The size and type of pet a customer owns makes a huge difference that most people don’t think about. For example, a 70-pound Labrador will be a lot harder on a floor than an eight-pound Yorkie, but large dog owners need not worry about not having choices.
“The big thing trending right now for flooring is luxury vinyl tile,” Williams says. “Basically it’s a heavy grade of vinyl that looks like wood or ceramic. It’s the hottest thing right now both commercially and residentially. They’re very durable and you also have some great design capabilities with it that you don’t get with sheet vinyl.”
Unlike regular vinyl, which has a set pattern, the vinyl tiles can be used to create a custom pattern so each room can have a unique look that is easy to care for.
In carpeting, Berbers and solid color-cut piles are losing favor. Currently, the most popular carpeting has solid-colored patterns and designs in monolithic tones. Designs include diamond shapes and floral patterns that are an intricate part of the carpet’s weave. Tweeds are also selling strongly.
“The majority of the carpets these days are being made with continuous filament fiber, which does not have any shedding or fuzzing or pilling,” Williams says. “Because of this new technology, they are able to give you a much more durable and longer-lasting carpet.”
New carpeting needs new padding underneath. Williams feels so strongly about ensuring that customers don’t cut corners on this essential element that he uses high-quality padding, but prices it low.
“I want people to change their pads because it gives longevity and it also refreshes the room,” he says, adding that manufacturers’ warrantees only apply if new padding is used.
They have hardwood too
Hardwood flooring remains ever popular, despite a rise in prices over the past few years. Oak is still a customer favorite, both for durability and appearance. Most pre-finished oak flooring is white oak, which has a lot less variation in the grain so it stains more evenly. Red oak has a lot of natural varied colors so it is predominantly used for natural finished floors.
For aesthetic and acoustical reasons, people who opt for hardwood flooring also buy area rugs. At Factory Carpet Outlet, any carpet pattern in the store can be turned into a custom area rug and Williams and his staff are always happy to help customers decide what will fit their lives best.
The personal touch
Factory Carpet Outlet offers its customers more than selection and value. Williams and his team work closely together and have plenty of combined experience in the flooring industry. General manager Sherry Silva has been with the company for seven years and has been working in the flooring industry since 1994. She works directly with customers in the showroom, does the ordering and makes sure the installation goes smoothly.
“Our overall experience allows us to answer most questions that our customers have, and if we are unable to answer them immediately, we are able to connect with the right people to get answers,” Silva says.
Warehouse manager Kevin Marland has worked in the industry for eight years. He is in charge of shipping and receiving and he also fabricates the custom area rugs by cutting and binding each one.
“Everyone at the store has the same philosophy,” Silva says. “We are like family and work together on all jobs. We treat our customers like we would want to be treated.”