After more than 35 years in the flooring industry, Wayne Wenger has announced his retirement from the Preferred Brands/Floor To Ceiling group, based in Burnsville, Minn. In making the announcement, Wenger said, "The industry has been very good to me and I have been fortunate to make many friends that I will miss dearly, but I think the time has come to enjoy a little slower pace. My wife and I have been discussing the advantages of my taking retirement for some time and we finally agreed that now was better than later."

"We plan to do a fair amount of traveling and high on the list of our destinations will be the homes of our children and extended families," Wenger added. "I also plan to continue learning and will enroll in history courses at a college near home. Then I plan to just relax and catch up on my fishing at our lake cabin near Brainerd, Minnesota."

Wenger received his undergraduate degree in Management from MIT and an MBA from the University of Chicago, before starting his career as a Systems Analyst, at Procter & Gamble’s headquarters in Cincinnati. He soon discovered that he was more interested in working with people than programs and the lure of the home furnishings industry got his attention. Two years after joining P&G, he transferred to the Dayton-Hudson Co. in Minneapolis. There he served as a Furnishings and Floor Covering Buyer for the next 23 years. In 1997, he began a five-year stint in a similar position as Floor Covering Buyer for Home Valu and Drexel stores in Minnesota, Iowa, Wisconsin and Indiana; and in 2002, he joined the Floor To Ceiling group as their Director of Floor Covering Sales, where he has remained since.

Wenger will turn 62 in January and when asked why he elected to take retirement now rather than later, he quickly said, "That’s simple, it’s summer in Minnesota! We don’t get much warm weather in this part of the country and taking retirement now, allows me to back off a notch, while enjoying the pleasant outdoors. If I waited until January, it would be immediately boring."

"I will miss working with the professionals in the flooring industry," Wenger continued. "Over the years, I came to know and appreciate many of them – from top management to salespeople at the flooring suppliers, plus retail store owners and salespeople."

According to Steve Sindlinger, President and CEO for Preferred Brands, "Wayne’s ability to sort out and keep all the many details straight in this constantly changing business will be sorely missed. He has had a blend of true compassion for our members, while still respecting the position of our many vendors."

Reflecting on the more than 20 years that he has known Wenger, Bill Maney, Divisional Marketing Manager for Shaw Industries, commented that, while it was always clear Wayne’s first priority was for the benefit and well being of Floor To Ceiling and World of Floors members, he consistently did whatever he could to be fair and mindful of the suppliers’ situation, as well. Bill Chandler, National Accounts Manager for Mohawk Industries agreed that Wenger had become an ally and dealing with him usually meant a win-win for everyone involved.

Mary Schulz, Floor Covering Merchandising and Product Manager for Preferred Brands was equally complimentary, "I’m not aware of anyone that has the in-depth knowledge of flooring that Wayne does. Many times, we would be in a meeting with fellow workers or a vendor, debating a situation and Wayne would bring us all back to reality by reciting little known, but critical facts and statistics that you could take to the bank. His insight will be very difficult to replace." Schulz said.