Pavilion Floors came to life a little over 10 years ago in 2003 with a very small startup staff. I brought 25 years of flooring knowledge to the table and a four-generation family history in the flooring industry dating back to the Mohawk/Bigelow carpet mills of upstate New York, but I knew that would not be enough.
More wisdom and depth as well as a larger network were needed. We went out into the field and managed to find a small corps of select floor covering veterans who wanted to be part of the excitement of experiencing a new firm. So, while the company is relatively young in years, it is very old when referring to experience.
The next objective was to secure a top-notch labor force. We did this by becoming a union contract flooring company. We signed a contract with the Massachusetts Floorcoverers Local 2168—the oldest chartered floor covering union local in the U.S. We also signed with the Bricklayers Local 3 for stone and ceramic—the oldest continuous union in North America.
As a result of these actions, we were able to offer our clients some of the most skilled installers in the region. They are all INSTALL certified and are trained to work with all flooring materials. INSTALL is the International Standards and Training Alliance, a North American alliance of flooring mills, manufacturers, consultants, associations and contractors who work together to ensure superior flooring installations through quality training and certification. Labor representatives are members of the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America.
I would like to note here that we do not go outside and hire subcontractors. All of our labor is 100% in-house. We do this because we feel we have little control over outside contractors and their training is rarely sufficient to meet the standards of the INSTALL professionals.
From the very beginning, Pavilion established several objectives that we require of our management and staff. The first is we hold ourselves to a very high quality standard to guard our reputation. Second, we hold ourselves to a very high safety standard to protect our employees and those around them. Finally, we mandate the very best customer service we can possibly offer to our clients to make working with us as easy as possible.
We do this because we are highly diversified and work with all types of flooring materials including carpet tile, VCT, LVT, wood, ceramic, stone and rubber. Additionally, our expertise extends to self-leveling, moisture mitigation, stone fabrication and stone-related services.
Another reason we work toward these objectives is we serve a broad range of markets, from general contractors and facility managers to healthcare, education and retail. The projects they present can range from new construction to renovations.
A good example of this can be demonstrated by the amount of healthcare work we do. Besides having the knowledge of materials and methods of installation, we understand that hospitals cannot move patients out so we can do our work. We have to know how to work around them and provide a clean and sterile environment best done with soft walls and negative air machines. Pavilion Floors is also present at many new construction sites. We can also be found at renovations at private institutions and universities.
The process of development was not always smooth. Sometimes it seemed we were moving very slowly and sometimes it seemed as if we were moving in leaps and bounds. Before too long, we were bidding on and winning some very large projects. At the same time, the economy began to suffer and we shared in that pain. I cannot say I was not pleased at coming out of the dip but knew we needed a broader support network to suceed. In 2012, we joined the Fuse Alliance.
Fuse is a member owned network of professional commercial flooring contractors located throughout the U.S. and Canada. Membership enhances the value of a flooring contractor in the supply chain. It was this network that was available to us for support and wisdom along with continual updating of current best practices that motivated us to become involved. Fuse’s suppliers offer a variety of great products and, besides being reliable they focus on supporting our sales staff and Pavilion Floors. This usually allows us to be in a more competitive position.
Fuse also supports a program of seminars and symposiums to advance the knowledge of the flooring industry. It was at such a seminar, I met several other contractors who shared a common trait. They all had strong strategic alliances with large office furnishing companies and, in this non-competitive environment, we were able to share experiences and wisdom. Another member/owner provided the inspiration for Pavilion Floor’s Eco-Rescued Carpet Tile program.
For many years, we have been an active recycler of flooring materials. In 2013, Pavilion managed to divert nearly a quarter of a million pounds of carpeting from landfills. It was during this process we found many of the tiles were in good, usable condition. So we developed a process that allowed us to re-use these tiles and offer them to our clientele who had a strong interest in being green or who had budgetary constraints such as a not-for-profit organization.
Any one of the previously mentioned features of Pavilion could set us apart from other contractors in our market but probably the best feature is the team approach we have with our clients’ projects. Traditionally, and this is true in many service organizations, the client will contact the account manager directly for any issue surrounding their project leaving that communication prone to possible error or delay.
We realized it would be much easier if the client contacted the finance department for billing issues or a project coordinator if there was a scheduling issue. So we streamlined our communications process and developed teams that provided direct access to the appropriate individual. This made the experience of doing business with Pavilion Floors much easier since the client always deals with the same team members.
We have a great staff at Pavilion and I have a good feeling about the direction we are heading. There are many exciting new products being developed and new methods being tested that will only help the industry grow.
My goal is to make sure we continue to play a part in the effort to uplift the flooring industry to the professional level it deserves.
Jamie Gilmore is president, Pavilion Floors in Woburn, Mass. Pavilion was awarded the 2013 Fuse Spirit Award at the group’s recent annual conference. The top member award recognizes the Fuse Alliance member owner who exemplifies the concept of Fuse in its interaction and support of other members, preferred suppliers and the network. To contact Gilmore, call (781) 305-5444 or email email@example.com.