Rodeo Carpet Mills, which was founded in the '60s, closed its doors and ceased production on Jan. 15. In a letter to customers, Carmen Murray, owner/president of the City of Commerce, Calif.-based company, said, “Although we have not been strangers to bad economic times in the past, we have always been able to survive them. It is not just the bad economy, but the length of time it is taking to recover that has forced me to make this decision.”

“Rodeo Carpet Mills was a dedicated Wools of New Zealand partner from the beginning,” said Elise Demboski, exec director, North America, Wools of New Zealand. “Carmen led the company with unrivaled passion and always treated her staff and her customers like family. Though small in size, Rodeo surpassed many in the quality and design of their hand-tufted carpets and rugs. We are far from being alone in saying how much Rodeo will be missed.”

Orders in process when the decision was made were completed. “We did have to return some orders and deposits for work we could not complete,” Murray said, adding, “We are liquidating the assets and expect the process to be complete no later than February 15.”

Steve Silverman, president and COO of Abbey Carpet Co., said Murray and Rodeo will be missed. “I don’t believe I have ever met anyone who’s more creative, more customer sensitive, nicer, harder working and more deserving of success than Carmen Murray. Carmen started from meager beginnings, worked very hard and as a result Lou Sugarman, who started Rodeo, turned the business over to her. Each Rodeo product is unique, creative and magnificent and Carmen was involved with every project,” he noted.

Originally founded by Sugarman in the 1960s, Rodeo Carpet Mills has been headed by Murray since 1998. Murray worked her way up from part time receptionist at Sugarman’s decorator supply house, through positions in customer service, production, sales and operations to general manager in 1990 of Rodeo. In 1998, Murray was promoted to president and became full owner in 2000.

Murray said she regretted having to let go Rodeo’s long-time employees. “I am fortunate,” she noted. “As the face of Rodeo, I have opportunities in the industry, but my 20 employees will have to start over.”

“As of yet, I’m not able to think about future opportunities because I am so occupied with the closure. But, I will attend Surfaces to see my friends and associates,” she said.