February 07, 2014 // Franchising.com // Charlotte, N.C. - Barbara Leininger and Vickie Atkinson, owners of Floor Coverings International are celebrating 10 years of business partnership this year. The pair met while working at the same wallpaper store and the friendship blossomed into business partnership. They have focused their design backgrounds on serving the residents of southeast Charlotte and Union County, N.C.
"We became friends first thanks to our similar backgrounds and mutual interests," said Leninger, "and it's been a wonderful decade of business partnership with her."
Atkinson and Leininger met after Leininger moved to Charlotte in 1999, while they both worked at Allen Funk's Wallpaper Store. They maintained that friendship as they each moved on, separately, from those jobs and it was during that time they began to think about going into business together.
"Vickie and I both have design backgrounds," she explained, "and both of us thought flooring was an underutilized aspect of design. It's really the fifth wall of your home but so many people ignore it in favor of other elements."
They began their business partnership with Nationwide Floor and Window Coverings in 2004, but the franchise system closed five years later. Leininger and Atkinson were contemplating going independent with their business, which was thriving, when they met with Tom Wood, CEO of Floor Coverings International, a franchised, shop-at-home floor covering retailer. They were impressed by the company's strength and ongoing support and couldn't resist converting their business to an Floor Coverings International franchise.
"We were so impressed by them," said Atkinson. "They are such a good, strong company that provides excellent support, fantastic technology and marketing. We couldn't possibly wear that many hats and it's been a wonderful company to be associated with."
Floor Coverings International of South East Charlotte offers more than 3,000 flooring options from the top brands in flooring at competitive prices as well as professional installation services. Flooring options including carpet, hardwood, laminates, luxury vinyl, ceramic tile, area rugs and green flooring which can all be viewed through Floor Coverings International's InspireNet, an IT visualization system that allows clients to upload digital pictures of rooms in their home and sample countless flooring options with the click of a button.
Now after a decade of business growth, Leininger and Atkinson have recently opened their Floor Coverings International showroom as a shared space with Alliance Kitchen and Bath at 8620 Monroe Road in Charlotte. Customers will be able to use the showroom as a one-stop renovation stop, with Alliance providing cabinets and countertops while Leininger and Atkinson provide flooring, tile backsplashes and custom showers. They also continue Floor Coverings International's signature mobile business, consulting with clients in their homes to help design and install new floors. They have built a strong customer base of residential clients who love that both women can provide not only flooring options but knowledgeable and informed design advice tailored to their homes, and then carry them all the way through to installation. The partners are particularly proud of their installers, who have been with them for years and are extremely conscientious of the work they're doing.
"It is rare in our industry to work with installers as long as we have," said Leininger. "They're wonderful, extremely professional and very respectful of our clients' homes. Their Net Promoter Scores are in the top 10 percent nationwide."
Looking forward to the future, the partners are excited to expand their sales and support staff and continue to grow their customer base in North Carolina. They have every reason to expect the next 10 years will be as wonderful as the last.
Floor Coverings International has nearly 100 locations throughout the U.S. and Canada and expects to add 50 additional units by the end of 2014, targeting markets such as Boston, Chicago, San Francisco, Atlanta as well as other strategic markets across North America. For more information, please visit www.floorcoveringsinternational.com/
SOURCE Floor Coverings International
Sanderson & Associates