Effective July 1, Janice Clifton, owner of Abbey Carpets Unlimited, Napa, Calif., became Chairwoman of the Board of the World Floor Covering Association (WFCA). Clifton fills the role vacated by Harold Chapman of Bonitz Flooring Group, Inc., Greenville, S.C., who became immediate past chairman.

At the spring board of directors meeting in Asheville, N.C., directors also elected Paul Johnson of Interiors One, Inc., Carpet One, Tulsa, OK, as chairman-elect; confirmed Mark Weaver, Carpet Weavers, Bloomington, IL, as secretary; chose Scott Walker, Walkers Carpet One, Bellingham, WA as CFO; voted Aaron Pirner, CAP Carpet, Wichita, KS, as vice chairman; and named Tom Jennings as past chairman. These individuals will comprise the association’s executive committee for the 2013-14 fiscal year ending June 30, 2014.

The WFCA elects a third of its board of directors each year for three-year terms.  Directors in Asheville confirmed the selection by the membership of directors of the board to serve terms beginning July 1, 2013. In addition to re-electing Johnson, WFCA members also re-elected Deb DeGraaf and Terry Wheat. Pirner was elected to serve an unexpired 2-year term.  Newly elected directors to 3-year terms include:
• Jason Fromm, Carpet Spectrum, Inc., Lomita, CA
• Dean Howell, Moda Floors and Interiors, Atlanta, GA
• Melissa Murphy, Johnston Paint and Decorating, Columbia, MO

Associate Directors also re-elected Bob Weiss, president/CEO, All Tile, Inc, Elk Grove Village, Ill., to a three-year term as an associate director. Elected to serve an unexpired 2-year term was Paul Murfin, President, IVC USA, Dalton, GA.

Janice Clifton did not begin her career in flooring but rather fell into her flooring profession. It all happened one day 28 years ago while Clifton was enjoying life as an accomplished accountant. Her financial skillset was second-to-none and she rose quickly in her role. After one of her clients experienced a botched sale of a flooring store, Clifton saw an opportunity and bought and took over the retail location in 1985.

Her father, a career furniture salesman and manager, went into business with Clifton and together with Janice’s financial prowess they were the perfect team. Two years later the two decided to join Abbey Carpet & Floor and thanks to colleagues and friends that took them under their wing, their business took off. What began as one store and a staff of two swelled into one of the larger flooring stores in the region.

Along with some outside help, Clifton was an early adopter of technology. Before it was commonplace, she had her staff trained on computers and her inventory and sales were digitized. Clifton also recognized early on that her primary customer was female. From the start, Clifton made a concerted effort to ensure that there were plenty of women on her staff.

In addition to her business acumen, Clifton also recognized the importance of treating her team fairly and with dignity. She knew that this would carry through to how they made customers feel when they were in her store.

To further solidify her relationship with her staff, Clifton chose not to base compensation on commission. All of Clifton’s employees are salaried so there is no question about “perks” and “kick-backs” when her staff talks with customers about products sold in the store.

Clifton maintains memberships and actively participates in many industry groups. She joined the WFCA as an affiliate member in the early ‘90s. She also regularly participated in and continues to be a part of WFCA’s educational seminars, installation programs, presentations and member dinners. She became so active in the association early on that she was invited to join the WFCA board 12 years ago. Since then Clifton has served on the Certification Committee, Affiliate Committee, Membership Committee, Industry Relations Program and others. She has also been a part of the WFCA Executive Board for over six years.

In addition to her activities with the WFCA, Clifton has been a member of the Abbey Dealer Council for over 20 years. In addition to her professional achievements, Clifton has been an active member and supporter of The Wolfe Center, a Napa County-based service provider of adolescent drug and alcohol use and abuse prevention, intervention and treatment services. She and her staff are also active in their local Boys & Girls Club chapter.

Clifton lives with her husband of 34 years in Napa, California. With the spare time that she has available, Clifton enjoys the company of her five grandchildren — ages 6 months to 22 years.  

“I am so excited to serve this vibrant and relevant association as its chairperson,” said Clifton. “We have such a talented group of people with so much energy and enthusiasm. This year promises to be among the most productive in this association’s history.”