Great Floors' Strategies to Success
Doug Chadderdon’s vision was to create a business model, tapping into all three market segments of the flooring industry: residential, builder and commercial. Each segment of the flooring industry has its own challenges, nuances and complexities. However, using the “three-legged stool” approach ensures that Great Floors can weather the inevitable ups-and-downs of the economy and industry changes and progress.
As Great Floors, based in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, approaches its half-century mark, the executive team of CEO Doug Chadderdon, COO Ken Chadderdon, and CFO Jim McGee is making bold moves to grow the business. With 22 locations across Idaho, Washington and Montana, and plans for continued expansion, annual company sales exceed $200 million dollars. Great Floors has 560 employees, and more than 100 of the employees have worked for the Great Floors’ team for over 15 years.
“Great Floors, located in the northwest corner of the U.S., is a classic example of the American Dream,” Doug Chadderdon said. “The company has grown through hard work, taking risk, and being committed to creating a secure and supportive work environment for employees. The result is outstanding customer satisfaction and continued business relationships.” Here are some of their secrets to success.
Great Floors’ executive team is comprised of a committed, intelligent, driven and passionate team of people. We succeed by working together and challenging each other. We have created a strong business platform which results in a supportive employment environment and premier customer care and service. Recruiting and retaining good employees is an ongoing challenge. Great Floors strives, when possible, to hire at the entry level, working toward continued industry education and then offering promotional opportunities within the company.
Great Floors also recruits from multiple colleges and universities in the region, offering opportunity in The Great Floors’ Management Program. Looking specifically in the following areas of study: project management, architecture and design, and business and finance. Our retention rate is approximately 50%. It continues to be challenging to hire strong talented people, competing within the flooring industry and big northwest companies like Microsoft, Boeing and Amazon.
Great Floors continues to be an industry leader in providing and supporting ongoing education, dental, eye and health insurances, and retirement matching funds.
Great Floors Commercial is committed to the communities in which it conducts business. The company focuses on K-12 schools and we budget annual contributions to school districts across the northwest In addition, Great Floors sponsors symposiums for principals and superintendents in local school districts.
Great Floors brings in speakers to cover topics which are not available locally. For example, Great Floors, along with Starnet preferred vendors Mannington and Antron, sponsored a symposium on “active shooters.” The audience included school personnel, as well as 14 sheriff deputies. The local Sheriff called Great Floors requesting to speak to our audience, as he had heard Great Floors had put on a quality event. The Great Floors’ team considered this recognition an honor.
The Starnet Advantage: In 2005, Great Floors joined the Starnet Commercial Flooring group with the goal of connecting with commercial flooring industry leaders and sharing and collaborating our industry knowledge. Through the Starnet meetings, we are exposed to market trends in specific regions and we learn from networking with companies not located in our marketplace. Starnet is a valuable and gratifying community of business leaders.
Photo: Starnet Design Awards Silver Education Winner University of Washington Life Sciences Building.
Great Floors: The Early Years
In 1964, Marge and Keith Chadderdon moved from a small town in eastern Montana to Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, with the goal of starting a flooring business. Keith Chadderdon was a second-generation flooring business owner. Their son, Doug Chadderdon, third generation, came on-board in 1992. Doug had grown up working in his parents’ business, occasionally travelling with his dad in the summers and working in the warehouse, sweeping floors, running a forklift and delivering product to job sites.
After graduate school, Doug, worked in the banking industry while living in Seattle. In 1992, Marge and Keith asked Doug to move he and his young family to Boise, to open a fifth store for the family business.
In 1993, Keith Chadderdon unexpectedly passed away. Doug and his family moved from Boise to Coeur d’Alene, joining his cousin, Ken Chadderdon and Jim McGee to take-over management of the business in honor of Keith and Marge. The following year Doug Chadderdon, CEO; Ken Chadderdon, COO; and Jim McGee, CFO partnered to purchase the business.