Wal­dorf friends carry on in the floor­ing busi­ness

G&D Floors rises from the rem­nants of Floor­ing Amer­ica

Maryland Independent - - Business - By DAR­WIN WEIGEL dweigel@somd­news.com Twit­ter: @somd_bized­i­tor

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.

STAFF PHOTO BY DAR­WIN WEIGEL

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.

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