Freadreacea Talks About His Business Philosophy and Competing in a Tough Market
Freadreacea, who has just concluded a stint as chairman of the World Floor Covering Association (WFCA)—the flooring industry’s largest retailer advocacy group—has a unique residential, builder and multifamily business and we recently had an opportunity to capture an interview with him as well as visit two of his locations in Louisville.
Now here’s a distinction for you that he and his store manager have that I can’t imagine many retailers would envy: One of his Louisville locations has four competing floor covering stores just yards away, less than a stone’s throw from his store, one of which is only two or three doors away in the very same strip shopping center.
Also, did I mention that there are also two big box players just a few blocks away from his location? Talk about being in a tough place…
Anyway, here are some excerpts from the video interview we did with him that you may find interesting. You can find the complete three-part video in the archives section on the TalkFloor.com website, which is also accessible via Floor Trends’website, floortrendsmag.com.
TF: Talk about broadloom for a minute, specifically the new soft and ultra-soft carpets and the effects they have had on the marketplace.
Freadreacea: Our largest growth in carpeting over the last couple of years has been in the soft, higher-end, nicer products.
I feel that the consumer doesn’t object to spending more money on nicer products—it’s really that the industry has just had a hard time finding a story that will give the consumer a reason to spend the same amount on carpet [she] would spend on a nice hardwood, for example.
If a consumer selected carpeting for the same dollar amount [she would] spend on hardwood, [she] could get a beautiful, very nice carpet that will perform well. The industry just has not done as good a job of selling that story and the beauty story of carpeting.
TF: Even with the popularity of soft carpet, it still doesn’t appear that carpet as a category is gaining share.
Freadreacea: Soft has gained a greater share of carpeting sales, but carpet in general has not taken share away from hard surface. It is still losing share.
TF: Service is an area that you really hang your hat on. How do you make service better than the handful of stores that are just about in the shadow of your building?
Freadreacea: Service for me is really the full circle. It’s everything from the tone we set with our advertising that’s designed to bring the customer into one of our stores. It starts with the impression they get when they enter the store that holds true to the message they received in our advertising.
It’s the salesperson helping the customer all the way through her visit in the store. It’s also the order department making sure that everything was ordered properly and that they check the items when they come in.
It’s making sure the installers are not only on time but there with all the proper products and supplies, and that they are finished on time. And, most importantly, that the customer is happy when they leave.
We also have a customer service rep who goes out to every installation when the job is completed and I receive a customer response form for every job. Incidentally, we actually read every job report in a meeting in each city in front of everybody so they all know how we all performed.
To have good service you have to have the full circle.
TF: Nick Freadreacea is a buttoned-down retailer and manager, who has assembled a team and a system that has carved out a very distinctive niche in his part of the world.
There’s a great deal more to this conversation that provides insight into his philosophy about product, people and running his business as well as more about service, which we just don’t have the space for here. We invite you to watch it and see what makes Nick such a successful retailer and businessperson.
Editor’s note: As mentioned, there is a great deal more to this interview than space permits. To see the three-part conversation in its entirety visit TalkFloor.com, click on the TalkFloor TV logo and scroll down to the parts titled, “Nick Freadreacea, Owner, The Flooring Gallery.”
From a PR post at the CRI to communications director of the Atlanta Mart, Dave Foster launched two of the top industry websites and currently hosts his own Dalton-based radio program, FloorRadio. firstname.lastname@example.org.