CFI Congoleum

Snow, snow and more snow in a winter blizzard did not stop a CFI-Congoleum resilient training workshop in Sioux Falls, S.D. at Tri-State Wholesale Flooring recently.  The weather was so bad that airlines cancelled flights, but Joe Cea made it to Lincoln, Neb. and then traveled by car for three hours and Tony Buckhardt made it to Minneapolis before his flight was cancelled and he drove four hours to Sioux Falls.


All the employees of Tri-State Flooring stepped forward to help CFI’s Scott Terryberry from Colorado to construct the modules by the time the instructors arrived late Thursday evening. The program started on time the following morning and concluded on Saturday afternoon. Twenty-one installers were scheduled, but five could not travel the distance in the blizzard.

Tri-State Wholesale Flooring is located in Sioux Falls, S.D. and has been serving customers since 1964 in South Dakota, Minnesota, Iowa, Nebraska, Wyoming and Montana, with its own fleet of trucks and a dedicated staff of 24. The large seminar and training area is ideal for installation training. The company website is Tri-State is a member of the National Wood Flooring Association (NWFA),North American Association of Floor Covering Distributors (NAFCD) and the World Floor Covering Association (WFCA).

Tri-State Wholesale Flooring supplied the materials and the CFI Certification was specific to Congoleum products. The installers arrived prepared and the lowest score was 91 with Ope Niemeyer scoring the highest. The training started with the preparation of the substrate and continued through to the finished project following the manufacturer specific instructions.

“I have conducted many training events during the past, but I have never worked with a group as dedicated and prepared as these installers. Not only did they have to brave the storm, they were excited about new ideas,” said Joe Cea, Technical Installation Specialist for Congoleum. “They made it fun for all of us, especially this guy from Arizona. With the guidance of Bob Dempsey, Installation Manager of Congoleum, we shared the installation for Congoleum’s new ZON and Structure products and techniques that help with problem solving should the need occur.”

Joe Gaspar of Tri-State, “We enjoyed hosting the event for this dedicated group that showed up in the snowstorm, as well the two instructors who also traveled long distances. We look forward to working with them again. At the close of the training, we felt it was important to express our appreciation for this dedicated group that drove many miles in a terrible blizzard. We presented each installer with $80 cash to encourage them to continue their education and to be known as the professionals in the area. Tri-State believes that education is the key to customer satisfaction which is what we all strive for in this business. It is important that our flooring materials are installed correctly.”

“The installers were elated and speaking for Congoleum and CFI, I believe this is a first for those who attend training. Joe Gaspar and all the employees at Tri-State Flooring have done more than their share to make a difference for installation. It is certainly appreciated,” commented Joe Cea.

“The class was excellent. Everyone learned a lot about the Congoleum products,” said Ope Niemeyer of Brookings, S.D.. “Cea and Buckhardt shared information that is not available without attending one of these classes. I am CFI certified in other flooring surfaces and recommend the training for all installers and sales associates.”

“After surviving the snow in Indiana last week, I did not plan to travel again in this weather, but when you are fortunate to have such a receptive group of installers, it makes it all worthwhile. They came prepared to learn and worked hard to earn their certifications. CFI has added another group of very professional resilient flooring installers to the membership.”