Great Carpet Salesman Talks about Trends and What Customers Need to Know about MaintenanceI spent a few days recently with my sister in Indianapolis. One of the activities she had planned for my visit was to help her choose new carpet for her house. It sounded like fun – I write about carpet all the time, but I don’t get to shop for it very often.
We went to three flooring specialty retailers – all really nice stores, with gorgeous products and attentive salespeople. The salesman at Carpet One Floor and Home Indianapolis really stood out. His name is David Feltt, and he is without a doubt the best carpet salesperson I have ever encountered. Not only did he know his product, he talked to my sister about different fibers, the pros and cons of various construction types, and, to my personal delight, how to maintain carpet warranties through proper cleaning and maintenance.
I asked David to talk to me for the CRI blog.
CRI: What kinds of trends are you seeing? Broadloom as area rugs?
DF: It's a major portion of our business. Need a rug 54 and 3/8 inches by 109 and 15/16 inches? We can do that. Try to find that off the rack.
CRI: Patterned carpet?
DF: Patterned carpet is a niche product. It goes wonderfully in certain areas of a home, but seldom in a whole house. Great for libraries or dens or special bedrooms.
CRI: Cut and loop or frieze styles?
DF: Friezes are probably close to 40 percent of our business. Where olefin Berbers used to go, friezes now dominate. Cut and loop is my favorite style. Short and tight, just what I want to see in a carpet. Gravity eventually pulls us all six feet under. Gravity works on carpet too. If a carpet is short and tightly twisted, there are seldom any complaints. I love cut and loop.
CRI: You talked to us about warranties and carpet cleaning - is that something you address with most carpet shoppers?
DF: I try. I remember very distinctly going to a client's home who had stain issues with a carpet which had a 25 year stain warranty. The warranty stipulated (as all warranties stipulate) that the carpet must be professionally cleaned using hot water extraction at least every two years. The client called me in at 26 months with no cleaning record. Even though she was given warranty information, I still feel awful about that encounter. I'm not the smartest guy in the world, but I'm teachable. Vacuum often and steam clean at the first sign of soiling.
CRI: Are you familiar with CRI's Seal of Approval program? CRI tests carpet cleaning solutions, vacuum cleaners, and cleaning systems, and lists the best performing ones on our website:
DF: I am certainly familiar with CRI's Seal of Approval program. I refer folks to it often and I use it myself. It's a great resource.
CRI: How are your customers' concerns about carpet and asthma/allergy and Indoor Air Quality affecting their feelings about carpet?
DF: We all know that there are virtually no VOCs from carpet. Once in a blue moon, someone will enter my showroom and have to leave because of the odor. But we have engineered woods and laminates and vinyl products in the showroom as well. Who knows what sets off the sniffling?
Many seem convinced that carpet is unhealthy. I refute that at every opportunity and thanks to CRI I have some ammunition. If a family wants a hardwood floor in their living room for the aesthetic quality and long life and increase in value, then that's great. If they want it to help their son's allergies, then we must talk.
There is an urban legend regarding carpet and allergies. And as any of my close friends will tell you, I abhor urban legends. I fight the perception that carpet enhances allergies on a daily basis. Thank goodness I have resources like the CRI to dispel those urban myths.
CRI: Are men and women different in their flooring preferences?
DF: Not to sound misogynistic, but my experience is that most women prefer hard surfaces (easier to clean up after the dog or the child) and that most men prefer carpet (don't want those toes to hit bare floor in the morning). Carpet is warm, it is quieting; it is inviting.
CRI: Is it a better value during a tough economy?
DF: Absolutely. Many folks are in a position to sell their houses in these economic times. Often what needs the most attention is the carpet. It's pretty hard to upsell someone who is upside down on their mortgage and has to replace the carpet before they can sell. But for those who have decided to stay put, a quality carpet will serve them for many years. Sixty years ago, it became the rage to cover old hardwood floors with carpet for many reasons, including drafty rooms, wax finishes, dents and scrapes – back then, carpet was a godsend.
CRI: Parting shot?
DF: Take care of your carpet. Vacuum, vacuum, vacuum. Have it professionally steamed cleaned. Carpet is by no means on its way out.
In the end, my sister made her carpet decision based on color. “That’s the single most important factor,” David says.
The more things change…