America's Floor Source (AFS) recently named Michel Vermette CEO. AFS serves homebuilders, homeowners, multi-family firms, wholesale customers, and commercial clients from nine locations in Columbus, Ohio; Indianapolis, Indiana; Cincinnati, Ohio; Louisville and Lexington Kentucky and Madison, Wisconsin.  

The first America’s Floor Source showroom opened in July of 2000 behind a small church in Columbus, Ohio, with a team of six loyal employees and a small base of home builder customers. In its first year, the company did $5 million in sales, an impressive number for a brand-new company. Recent expansion has placed America’s Floor Source among the top five flooring companies in the country, now operating with annual revenue over $190 million. 

FLOOR Trends & Installation Associate Publisher and Editorial Director Tanja Kern spoke with founder Jason Goldberg and Michel Vermette about their plans to grow the diverse flooring business to $500 million in sales. 

Floor Trends: How did Michel Vermette join the company?   

Goldberg: I've always known of Michel. I had never actually met Michel, or actually had never spoken to Michel. Mike Stinnette, who's the current president of my company, used to work at Mohawk as a regional vice president and always had very high regards for Michel and constantly told me about how good he was at a lot of things. I was at FloorCon in early November. Michel was the keynote, and during that keynote, I said, “This is the guy that makes the most sense. If I can get him to come aboard, he would make a real impact, taking America's Floor Source to the next level.” He actually gave his cell phone number out at the end of his speech. I texted him immediately thereafter. I took him to dinner, and four and a half months later he came aboard as the CEO.  

Floor Trends: Michel, why was this opportunity intriguing to you?  

Vermette: I told Jason the first time that he caught me a little bit by surprise on our first meeting. I was just looking to get a free meal, first and foremost, and get to know him and exhange ideas. But when he said, “Hey, what about joining America's Floor Source?” I said, “Well, Jason, that's not what I expected.” Armstrong was a very demanding experience, so I was not looking to do something right away.” I had heard of Jason, had tremendous respect for him, heard a lot of good things, but I never visited his operation. He was gracious enough to say, well, why don't you come spend a couple of days. I'll show you around, what we're about, what we're doing, how we do things.  

I spent a couple of days with him. I actually did that three times during three different trips, and we talked a lot about how he ran the business, what he thinks the business needed, the values, and how he approached things. Many of those things appeal to me. I believe [AFS President] Mike Stinnette compliments his skillset; that can make a difference. They could take the business to the next level.  

Floor Trends: Jason, you’ve built a very strong business. Where do you want to take this?  

Goldberg: First and foremost, I want the respect of the industry, our customers, our suppliers, and, most importantly, my employees. I want to have the most respected company in the industry that people look up to and say, that's the company that if I had to model it, then I would model it after [AFS].  

Now, if we're talking about financial goals, we have a current goal to get to half a billion dollars. Our original goal was $100 million. We hit that about 47 days to go. That was a 10-year goal. This one's a little shorter goal, half a billion. And, and then from there, our next goal will be a billion dollars. It would be great to have a billion dollar company. I feel that I now have the correct team in place [to achieve that goal] with Michel coming aboard.  

Floor Trends: Can you offer a little bit of insight on how you're going to reach that goal of a billion dollars?  

Goldberg: We’re going to do some acquisitions. We've already done three, and that's another reason why it's great to have Michel on board because of those three acquisitions. I certainly didn't do everything correct and got surprised on a few things. Michele’s done due diligence with and for some of the largest acquisitions in the industry. So, I look at it as I have a due diligence expert on the team.  

We do five segments of the market: builder, multifamily, commercial, wholesale, and retail. And just within our current five markets, we have well over a hundred million of expansion that we can do there. If we just serve those in every market, there's the opportunity to open in other markets that we're going to take advantage of. Aside from acquiring in other markets, there's always the opportunity to add additional product categories, for instance, window treatments.  

We’re going to be on the lookout for some very talented people that are looking for a challenge and a change and to be part of something that could be legendary.  

Floor Trends:  Jason, why was now the right time for you to transition to the role of chairman and COO? 

Goldberg: Last year, I brought in some advisors to look at my business and tell me what we were doing well and what we were not doing so well. It’s great to be told what you're doing well, but I really wanted to know what we weren't doing well. And based on the feedback that I got and based on what those categories were, it made sense at that time to fill that gap. Frankly, those were things that I really didn't work on all that much, and I don't really enjoy working on all that much. It made sense to fill those holes right then and there. I got lucky that Michel was at FloorCon.  

I'm 52 years old. I've got two young children at home. I’m not going to be in a position to run this company and turn it over to my kids. I’m not working until I'm 75 or 80. I don’t have ambitions to do that. I've got a good eight to 15 years left in me. I want to go hard and I wanted to bring on a person or a team of people.  

Floor Trends: Can you offer a little bit of an outlook for this year on the various segments of your business?  

Goldberg: I personally feel that the retail segment's going to be strong. I felt that retail took its hit starting in about April last year when gas prices really went through the roof and inflation was high. I'm not a big believer that interest rates are going to have a drastic negative effect on the retail consumer.

Our consumer owns their home. They're probably locked into a fixed mortgage rate. What affects them is their ability to pay. When inflation is rising and food and gas prices and energy prices go up, they have less disposable income. It's been that way now for almost a year. Some of it's come down and has subsided, so that's going be fine.  

I feel the same way about wholesale. Wholesale has a bright year. Property management should be full go this year and should be a very high-performing segment in my opinion.  

Interest rates do affect our builder work. Anyone can read the start reports across the nation. Builders are not pulling and starting as many houses as they have the past couple of years, so that's going to definitely be a more challenging segment this year.  

We’re not heavily developed in commercial. We have a lot of room for growth there. It’s going to be strong because we have a whole bunch to gain in all those markets.  

To listen to the full interview in its entirety, go to