Alan Lorberbaum, a carpet industry pioneer and the founder of Aladdin Mills, died in Boca Raton, Fla. at his home on Sept. 9. He was 82.
Remembered for his kindness, respect and generosity, Lorberbaum worked tirelessly to build Aladdin Mills after he and his late wife Shirley established the rug business in 1957. What began as a small mill at the site of a former skating rink would grow to become one of the industry's leading carpet and rug manufacturers and a proving ground for innovations that helped set a new standard of quality and efficiency in the industry.
Among his many achievements, Lorberbaum was one of the first carpet producers to invest in fiber extrusion. He also adopted new methods that led to greater efficiency in production and distribution, or what he termed "sudden service." He frequently said that his customers should always receive a higher level of service than the going industry standard. He backed up his words by investing in a highly efficient trucking and distribution network.
Lorberbaum was also widely praised for hiring and nurturing a talented team of executives who helped him build Aladdin into an industry leader. He is fondly remembered by employees and colleagues for the devotion he demonstrated throughout his life. Many former employees have remarked that their former boss treated them like members of an extended family.
In 1994, Lorberbaum merged his company with Mohawk Industries and joined the board of directors. Mohawk's position as one of the largest and most important flooring manufacturers in the world is partly attributable to his legacy,
Lorberbaum is survived by his daughter Suzanne Helen; sons Jeff and Mark; daughter-in-law Sarah; brother Charles; and several grandchildren. His son Jeff currently serves as president and CEO of Mohawk Industries. Mark is a vice president of the company. Contributions in memory of Alan Lorberbaum can be made to: Dalton State College Foundation, 650 College Drive, Dalton, GA, 30720.