Flooring Retailer Profile: Foundation Flooring
A decade ago, Matt Jorgensen finished college and moved down to Pompano Beach, Fla., from the Washington, D.C., area with his dog and $500 in his pocket. An uncle with a couple of Carpet One stores in New England connected him with a local ProSource dealer and helped Jorgensen land his first real job. It also turned out to be a valuable lesson on the value of networking.
By 2009, Jorgensen had discovered how the industry can grip your soul. After having developed some of his own contacts, he embraced his passion and opened Foundation Flooring in Pompano Beach with a core objective: become Florida’s most reliable company for floor covering needs.
Working primarily with trade customers — only 20% of his business comes from the retail side — Jorgensen has grown his company well into seven-figures by building partnerships. Even his storefront is shared with another flooring retailer in a unique relationship where he handles sales, and Scott Milligan, owner of Heartland Wood Flooring which shares the space, takes on the installation process for Jorgensen’s retail clients as well as his own.
The partnering philosophy also carries into the company’s marketing efforts. Two out of three of its key promotional initiatives involve teaming with others to produce results.
“In addition to referral programs where we give rewards for referrals to our retail and trade clients as well as to their referrals in an Uber-type program,” Jorgensen says, “we have found business networking groups like BNI to be a great tool.”
The partnering is also carried through to Foundation’s team.
“By being open to different ways of thinking and listening,” he says, “I am empowering my team. Everybody from warehouse to operations to sales is involved in the process and it has been huge.”
As an example, Jorgensen discusses his Fourth of July event which helped make 2015 a record year by bringing in a quarter-of-a-million dollars over the course of four days.
“I asked my team, ‘What can we do to make the event a success?’” he said. “Having their ideas played out, they took on a lot of accountability, made decisions and ran with them to make the event happen.”
Partnerships on the supplier side also allowed Jorgensen to negotiate strong discounts he passed along to his customers for that event, increasing his profitability overall.
Above and Beyond
It is not just about discounts, though. A key factor in his success to date has been taking the time to educate his clients on their investment.
“We’re not selling the deal of the month,” Jorgensen says. “It’s more about identifying customers’ needs and answering questions. Consumers are more educated these days, but some of the information they get on the Internet is far from accurate.
We educate them on what is true and give them all the information they need to make an informed decision.”
“The goal,” he adds, “is to improve the investment in their property while creating a happy, peaceful place to live.”
Creating that happy and peaceful place sometimes involves going over and above, but Jorgensen believes every customer is worth it. In fact, in one situation where the customer was unhappy with the variations inherent in a certain natural product, Jorgensen ended up working with a different factory at his own cost to get the material for the job and complete it to her satisfaction.
Rather than sulk over it, he turned it into a learning opportunity and instituted a practice where clients now sign-off on those types of materials before they leave the showroom to be delivered to the job site.
“Whenever there is a challenge or issue,” he explains, “we like to see how we can grow and put processes in place to get ahead of them becoming headaches in the future.”
One such challenge common to many is the effect of the box and chain stores.
“We try to avoid the $0.69 tile game,” he says. “They appeal to the house slipper and lower level GC client. We want to be attracting customers who want more mid- and high-quality products at higher prices.
“Against The Home Depot and Lowes,” he adds, “we buy from some of the same manufacturers. Because their margins are pretty high, we can actually beat them on price and still make a decent margin.”
Thanks to his strategies and the economies that come with scale, Jorgensen has been able to grow revenues significantly while seeing even better net profits. Specifically, he credits a 45% increase in net profits to his team and yet another partnership: with his community.
As a matter of course, he donates a portion of every transaction back to charity both locally and globally. In one such partnership with B1G1, a portion of every transaction goes to providing water and other resources to those in need all over the world. Locally, when he rewards clients and their referred customers with gift cards, a portion of the proceeds goes to a local dog rescue.
All in all, Jorgensen’s efforts have not only garnered a valuable network in his area, they recently earned him recognition as Young Entrepreneur of the Year for 2016 by ActionCoach, a business coaching company, at its most recent Business Excellence Forum and Awards in Orlando, Fla.
Going forward, he says the company’s recent growth means he must increase the size of his sales team in the short term. Over the course of the next 10 years, he expects the firm’s reach to extend to Florida’s west coast from Naples to Tampa, as well as north as far as Jacksonville with satellite locations to service the different localities.