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Thursday, October 25, 2007

Flooring It Differently - Gardner's Flooring America, Topeka, KS

Gardner's Flooring America in Topeka, KS represents a store that is definitely Flooring It Differently.

Featured in my very first post -
Women Of Flooring America Making Their Mark, Gardner's Flooring America is run by sisters Renee and Tracy Gardner.

Wear-Dated Rep for Topeka, Renee Bolton, shared the following with me:

I have had a great time getting to know Tracy Gardner over the past several months and would love to share what I've learned. This Flooring America is a family business that started with Tracy and Renee's parents.

Their father - Marvin Gardner - started installing carpet when he was only thirteen years old. He worked with their grandfather who also was a carpet installer.

When Marvin met their mother, both continued with their own installation company for the next seventeen years. Imagine, their mother and aunts used to sew carpets together! This was in the days before seam tape was invented. The store displays a wall of installer tools that have been in the family for three generations.

Then, in 1976 their parents opened the retail store known as Gardner Floor Covering. In 1991, they became an original member of CarpetMax, which is now Flooring America, a national flooring cooperative. That's why today, they are Gardner's Flooring America.

When you first walk into Gardner's Flooring America, you immediately notice color and texture as you can see from the photo on the left. Notice the bold area rug and how the pillows and accessories [candle, lamp] reflect the colors from the rug. How welcoming!

This is not an overly modern or cold store. Quite the opposite. It's extremely inviting with vignettes of wallpaper, fabric and carpet paired together placed as transition areas between the store's flooring categories (hard surfaces, area rugs and carpet).

The main vignette shown in the photo below is located in the carpeting area, beside their wall of fame - a popular stopping place that displays awards and recognition for national contributions to the flooring industry as well as their local community.

For one of this year's community projects, Renee and Tracy Gardner are using the colors from our What is Blue? color forecast to design a Christmas Tree. This tree and a coordinating designer area rug will be auctioned off during the Festival of Trees which benefits Sheltered Living [This article/clip from 2005 Festival of Trees returns for 19th year gives a feel for the event], a local organization that assists people with developmental disabilities.

[Here are photos from Adopt a Pet day at their store.]

The latest is Go Red for Women sponsored by Flooring America and the local Topeka Chapter of the American Heart Association.

This store offers everything possible to make their woman consumer's life easier and better. It not only carries carpet and hard surfaces, but also wallpaper, window treatments, area rugs and accessories. Lighting throughout the store is actually conducive to color selection!

The store offers ample seating. In addition to the sofa and chair [editor's note: many stores offer NO seating], customers have several work tables available to sort through concepts and ideas.

If a consumer requests personal shopping, no problem! The store designers qualify the customer over the phone then bring appropriate samples to them at their convenience. Once there, the designer can measure and easily help with one room or the whole house.

Sure enough, the store has created an enclosed area for kids with movies, crayons and toys. The rest rooms are whimsically decorated in a trendy aqua blue and are kept spotlessly clean. Furthermore, Gardner's Flooring America offers its consumers fresh coffee and Renee's home-baked cookies - always a hit!

Here's a really unusual touch: each customer receives a decorative gift bag that includes coupons for carpet cleaning service, trial sized floor cleaners, and promotional items such as coffee cups, pens, magnets and koozies [i.e., can insulators] as well as coupons for designers services and products.

The overall effect is so conducive to creating a beautifully decorated home that customers willingly linger.

The Gardner sisters attribute their success not only to the high caliber of their work force, but also that everyone shares in the longtime Gardner family vision of providing superior customer service.

Renee explains the photos: the blue awning and bright flowers out front catch the eye - and send a strong message welcoming visitors.

As a consumer walks down the diagonal checkered path, she finds refreshments and the wall of antique tools across from the blind display.

At the end of the checkered path, the scene pictured on the left greets a customer wanting to look at wallpaper samples or needing work tables.

Gardner's Flooring America and sisters Renee and Tracy Gardner, are definitely Flooring It Differently in Topeka, KS. Congratulations and thanks for exuding so much passion for beautiful flooring and for making life so colorful for your customers!

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