This year, J+J Flooring Group is celebrating 60 years of commercial flooring solutions, leadership and legacy in the industry. Since its founding in 1957, the company has honed its expertise and experience to refine its processes both externally and internally. Celebrated through the years for its innovative products, exceptional customer service and dedicated associates, we sat down with David Jolly, president of the company, to learn more about J+J’s staying power, and its direction for the future.
FT: What has given, and continues to give, J+J Flooring its staying power over the past 60 years?
DJ: Our staying power is a result of a variety of factors, but first and foremost our success is a direct result of the people who work at J+J and the customers we serve every single day. We have a saying here that we’re in the people business, we just happen to make carpet. Our success would not be possible without our dedicated and talented associates who continually strive to come up with fresh, innovative ideas, who are dedicated to what they do, who listen to our customers and, in turn, remain committed to making top quality, beautiful carpet every day.
FT: What makes J+J Flooring unique and sets it apart in the industry?
DJ: What sets us apart from our competitors is our reputation, the breadth and quality of our product offerings and our commitment to the environment.
Additionally, we offer a breadth of innovative, quality flooring solutions to meet the needs of virtually any commercial interiors space. We manufacture beautifully designed modular and broadloom carpet products from our Invision brand and textile composite flooring products from our Kinetex brand, an innovative flooring that puts an emphasis on human-centered design.
FT: How important is good leadership to the success of a company?
DJ: It’s vital to an organizations success. Leadership serves as the catalyst that makes everything in the company work together in harmony—it sets the tone for the entire organization. At J+J, I work closely with the J+J executive team to set the strategic direction of the company while allocating resources to achieve our goals. Beyond our executive team, we’ve created a culture that encourages everyone at J+J to be a leader in their own way. Our associates are empowered to make decisions and bring new ideas to the table if they see a better way to do things. Leadership at J+J comes in all forms. It’s not relegated to your title or how many people you manage.
FT: Taking a closer look at one of your core values, in what ways does J+J Flooring continue to place an emphasis on its associates, and why is this important?
DJ: We have a staff of more than 800 associates who are dedicated to J+J’s success. We’re a family who works together every single day. The emphasis we place on our associates lies within J+J’s culture. Our culture has been a part of who we are since we were founded by my grandfather Rollins Jolly and Tom Jones. It’s unique in that it celebrates and embraces each and every individual. We pride ourselves on recognizing and respecting each employee’s contribution and duty within our company and we have an environment in which we communicate to our employees how much they are valued and how important what they do means to the success of our company. We talk about these things quite a bit. We know that our success always has been and will continue to be based primarily on the happiness of our employees which provides us with a competitive advantage in the long run.
FT: Please explain why environmental conservation has been important to the company, long before it was seen as a business benefit?
DJ: The short answer is that conservation and being responsible stewards of the environment is simply the right thing to do. That’s where it started for us. We recognized a long time ago that to make a commercial flooring product requires a lot of energy, water and other resources. We also recognize that a flooring product, both during production and at the end of its useful lifespan, creates a fair amount of waste.
When we look at conservation, we view it as an environmentally responsible initiative with added economic, social and corporate benefits. Our corporate-wide commitment to environmental stewardship has positioned us at the forefront in the commercial flooring industry while also creating solidarity in our company as we unite in our mission. We also recognize the economic benefits. By reducing our energy and water usage, we reap the benefits of cost savings. If we reduce the amount of waste diverted to landfills, there is a cost-savings there too. When we reduce, reuse and recycle materials like we do, we’re helping the environment while also gaining a valuable business advantage.
FT: Since joining forces with Engineered Floors in 2016, how was J+J Flooring Group benefitted and been strengthened?
DJ: By being part of the third largest flooring covering manufacturer in the industry, we’re able to tap into a much broader array of resources, and I’m not just talking about manufacturing capabilities. I’m also talking about the people, the knowledge, and the insights that Mr. Shaw and his team have made available to us, along with enhanced capital resources.
To that end, we are investing more than $60 million in a new commercial carpet tile and Kinetex manufacturing facility. This state-of-the-art factory will allow further growth and innovation of our modular flooring business. This investment would have not occurred this quickly, nor at this scale, without our being a part of the Engineered Floors corporate family.
With Engineered Floors, we now have the ability to scale up and expand our product portfolio, providing a greater depth and range of flooring options.
FT: What does “success” look like for J+J Flooring?
DJ: Fully utilizing the talents of our associates and suppliers to create innovative products, which provide flooring solutions to our customers. When we accomplish this each day, we are truly successful and enduring.
FT: In addition to 60 years of business, J+J Flooring has celebrated many great achievements and firsts over the years. For times when J+J Flooring might have seen failure or hard times, what are some of the biggest lessons the company was able to walk away with that have made it better and stronger today?
DJ: We’ve always been concerned with conservation and protecting the environment. We were doing things toward this end for many years, but we may not have been utilizing the best practices or benchmarking our results as effectively as we could have. It wasn’t until we instituted our Campus Environmental Team and our enterprise-wide environmental action program, EnAct, that we actually began to benchmark our environmental efforts. From this also came our transition into LEAN Six Sigma, which has helped us streamline many inefficiencies and processes. I think that is one lesson we’ve learned: It’s important to take action, but it’s also important to put structures and measurements in place to better affect change and monitor results.
FT: Taking a glimpse into the future, what do the next 60 years look like for J+J Flooring?
DJ: Wow, that’s hard to say. It seems like our industry is changing so rapidly, almost weekly in some cases. Our world is becoming smaller and more interconnected, and resources more scarce. And, of course technology and science continues to shape what we know about the built environment and how it affects the human condition. Technology also influences how and what kind of flooring products are made. But at the end of the day, I think people will continue to want to live and work in environments that are inspiring and beautiful. I think we’ll also see a greater emphasis on people wanting products that contribute to health and well-being and truly support environmental responsibility. To that degree, I think we’re on a great path for the next 60 years and beyond.
FT: In terms of business, what lasting advice have you held on to and implemented over the years that you can pass on to others in the industry?
DJ: Probably two cornerstones of wisdom that come from totally opposite sides of the spectrum:
My father, Jim Jolly, who worked for over 40 years here at J+J, always instilled Christ’s command of, “To whom much is given, much is required.” We at J+J have been blessed very much; therefore, it is our pleasure and duty to give back in return—to our associates, our customers, and our community. We’ve always shared a portion of the profits of our business with our associates, and we have a legacy within northwest Georgia of giving back to our communities.
We also have a legacy here of trying our best to live the Golden Rule—to truly treat others as we would like to be treated. This attitude has served us well for 60 years. If you asked J+J customers what they like best about our company, the consistent answer is, “It’s a pleasure doing business with everyone at J+J.”
And finally, when asked if there’s anything else he’d like to share with Floor Trends’ readers, Jolly simply said: “Go Tigers!” in support of the Clemson University–2016 College Football National Champions. Much like a championship winning football team, J+J Flooring’s work is not done after the “win.” With the excitement and momentum of reaching this major milestone carrying the company into the next chapter, Jolly and the J+J Flooring Group team continue to put in the time, work and effort that will carry the company through the next 60 years and beyond.