Waldorf friends carry on in the flooring business
G&D Floors rises from the remnants of Flooring America
Greg Pickeral and Dewayne Robinson started new careers this fall. After 30 years in the flooring business they decided to … go back into the flooring business. This time around, they’re doing it on their own terms as G&D Floors.
“We started Sept. 1. This is a brand new thing,” Pickeral said. “We’re still in the process of closing out some jobs for Flooring America. It’s a juggling act for us right now.”
The two men spent the last 30 years at the nowclosed Flooring America in White Plains before opening up shop together in Waldorf on Gough Drive, just behind the Wendy’s on Old Leonardtown Road.
“The only concern that I have, is we’re not on that road anymore,” Pickeral said, speaking of U.S. 301. “We’re a little hard to find now. Eventually, if things go the way we think they’ll go, we might jump back out into a retail space.”
He and Robinson said they’re working toward a business model centered around convenience, where after a telephone call to figure out what a customer needs, they’ll bring flooring samples when they go out to take measurements. They do have two small showrooms with samples at the Gough Drive location.
“We bring the merchandise to you. You don’t have to leave your home — Dewayne and Greg will come to you,” Pickeral said.
They’ve retained the same installation teams they’ve worked with for years, and they offer a full slate of flooring products such as carpet, hardwood, laminates and ceramic tile, plus the current trendsetter: luxury vinyl tiles.
“Right now the biggest trend is the LVT (luxury vinyl tiles),” Robinson said. “That’s a hot product right now,” Pickeral added.
“They have no problem with water,” Robinson said. “If you have the basement flood, you unsnap them, dry the area out and snap them right back down.”
G&D Floors offers free estimates and a carpet re-stretching service to take wrinkles and buckles out of a current carpet installation — two things not every shop does anymore, Pickeral said.
“We get quite a few calls about that,” he said of the re-stretching service. “As a matter of fact, I just did one this week in Hughesville. She had just bought a house and had a room with a bunch of wrinkles. She called four, five shops around and I was the only one to do it.
“She was tickled to death. Next time she needs carpet, she’ll think of me and Dewayne,” he added.
The two men grew up as neighbors in Waldorf, though attended different high schools due to a school zoning change — the older Pickeral went to Maurice J. McDonough while Robinson ended up at Henry E. Lackey.
“His mom and my mom were next door neighbors. We grew up together — and we’re still together,” Pickeral said with a laugh. “We grew up here as kids together, right here off Berry Road. We’re local boys.”
Both spent a few years managing other businesses in and out of high school — Robinson at the now-defunct Western Steer Restaurant and Pickeral at Peoples Drug, which is now CVS. Pickeral went on to Flooring America in White Plains, which was then called Carpet Country, working first in the warehouse and then working his way through a service manager position into sales then sales manager. Early on he convinced Robinson to take a floor installation job, which he did for 20 years until he jumped into the sales side.
“Dewayne was out there installing and I talk- ed him into sales. I had to twist his arm,” Pickeral said.
The two said they had started hearing rumors in the last year that the Flooring America was going to close so they began talking about what they were going to do and decided on starting G&D Floors, staying to the last day Flooring America was open to continue providing service to customers they had known for decades. The large White Plains building is now home to a Sky Zone Trampoline Park.
“Me and Dewayne kind of knew when it was closing that we were going to start [G&D Floors], so we knew we had to service our customers,” Pickeral said. “If they didn’t get taken care of, they weren’t going to come back and see us again. We’re big on customer service.”
Other than the stress of managing all aspects of the business as owners — something neither had to do as employees — the two are optimistic that all has turned out well in the end.
“I think we’re blessed,” Pickeral said. “We should have done something like this a long time ago.”
“We have customers telling us that all the time — ‘You should have done this 10 years ago,’” Robinson said. “That makes you feel good.”
“Sometimes you have to be pushed out to make a change, you know,” Pickeral added.
Greg Pickeral, left, and Dewayne Robinson started G&D Floors in September in Waldorf. The childhood friends worked together for 30 years at Flooring America in White Plains before it closed.