In mid-September, I shared What Your Register Tape Doesn't Tell You - my Surfaces 2008 presentation - with Atlanta Flooring Design Centers in Suwanee, Ga. What an experience!
First, you can't imagine a more focused and delightful audience, focused on the customer's experience. Participants peppered me with questions.
Next, the store. It's beautiful and thoughtfully laid out.
Michael Barrows, sales manager -- pictured here with me on the left and Alison Koeneman, our Wear-Dated representative in the Atlanta area, on the right -- is passionate about the store and making sure that it delivers an unforgettable experience to consumers.
He has a rich background in flooring, having operated his own store for several years, as well as worked on the manufacturing side of the business. He understands the product and what it represents to a consumer: a solution for her home.
Michael considers himself extremely lucky to be part of this business environment. He says "we have surrounded ourselves with talented, successful people. The passion throughout the company comes from many personalities that are allowed to thrive within our corporate community. Our basic goal and just one reason for success is the involvement of the company and its employees in the community that is a cornerstone of this business."
The store makes a strong statement about fashion and flooring, with vignettes and interesting juxtapositions. You'll notice hard surface samples in the soft surface section to show how the two can work together. You'll see samples as artwork. You'll also notice, particularly if you visit repeatedly, that it frequently changes to showcase something new, or to better demonstrate how to use products.
In addition to this store in Suwanee, Atlanta Flooring Design Centers also operates in Duluth, Ga. The company was started 23 years ago with a strong commitment to the customer. Just read through their Mission Statement and Core Values.
Michael offers background on how the company came to be. "Atlanta Flooring Design Centers' founder, Donny Phillips, started the business 23 years ago with a mission in mind to offer service and product to the community at a price that was fair and service that was above and beyond. The three principles are totally different in their skill sets and knowledge of the business which is what has allowed AFDC to thrive thru the years. You could say the principles complement each other's talents and personalities."
Atlanta Flooring Design Centers features a significant Karastan collection. When I visited, they had just received the Karastan Inspired Luxury collection and were about to set up. [If you haven't checked it out, you might. Not only does it include several styles made with Wear-Dated carpet fiber, but it showcases luxurious selection and customization. All of the carpet styles within the Inspired Luxury collection are available in 100 colors, in addition to each individual style’s running line of colors – even for those wanting a custom rug.]
The day following my visit, this store was hosting its first ever Design Expo - a full day filled with activities, education and presentations from representatives in the flooring industry. This was geared toward members of the design community. Local designers could take part in CEU credit classes in subjects ranging from design in carpet and natural stone to LEED and tile.
Allison said that the Expo was well attended. Designers not involved in seminars toured Atlanta Flooring Design Centers' showroom with expert commentary from the sales staff. Attendees mingled from morning to evening.
As Allison commented after the day's program "With outreaching events such as today it is easy to see why AFDC shines as a premier resource for designer flooring in the Atlanta area!"
To give you a feel for this beautiful showroom, here are a few more photos I took.
Note, in the photo above, how these patterned tile samples are engagingly fanned on the table.
Pictured on the right is this delicious seating area, with easy access to a TV if needed. This space is within easy access of the soft surface section of the store, immediately off the front central entrance area. Notice how it showcases product in a home-like setting.
It's also extremely comfortable. A perfect place for considering ideas, taking a phone call or for exhausted spouses and children to relax and enjoy other things [sports? Nemo?]
This photo on the left was taken in the soft surface [i.e., carpet] section of the store. I like how Michael has interspersed hard surface samples amidst the carpet samples. After all, that is how consumers use product in their homes!
Hanging from the wall were other hard surface samples [you can see a suggestion of that in the photos].
[In the hard surface section, I saw carpet as art.]
If you find yourself in Suwanee, Georgia, please do visit Atlanta Flooring Design Centers. Ask for Michael [he's charming and most knowledgeable]. If he's not available, everyone there will absolutely make you feel 100% welcome and inspired.
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