By Deborah Bostock-Kelley
Owner Chris Ramsay-Care doesn’t mind if you can’t recall his name, but if you’re anything like his other customers, ten years later his name still appears as ‘my floor guy’ in your cell phone. Chris is proud of the reputation he’s built in the industry with his family-owned and operated flooring company, RCI Flooring. His customers know that he’s honest and dependable, so much so, that Chris and a project manager are on-site at your home or business while the project is being completed, assuring it is done to his high standards and your satisfaction.
He’s not trying to compete with the impersonal big box stores. He doesn’t have to. Word of mouth referrals and recommendations, as well as return customers, has kept him busy since 2007. Though he may not always be the lowest price in town, his prices are fair, competitive and he’s not going to cut corners to do a cheap job because it’s his reputation on the line. Often, Chris is called in to repair the installation of his cheaper competitors.
He had two other locations, his flagship store in New Port Richey and a third location in Brooksville, but he closed those because he didn’t want to miss out on being Dad to his two young daughters.
“I wanted to be Dad more than anything else so we now have one store and we do much better out of this location than we ever did out of the three because,” he paused, “there’s only one me.”
He chose the Palm Harbor store because of its great location at 33937 US Hwy 19, centrally-located 20 minutes between Tampa and Clearwater.
“It’s a nice community around here.”
At RCI Flooring, customers can customize their flooring vision in a pressure-free, relaxing atmosphere, enjoying complimentary water, coffee, and donuts.
“Our goal is to build relationships with our customers. We try not to make the used-car salesman approach. I want to be an educator rather than a salesman. I want to prequalify a customer based on our conversation, whether they have kids or pets – what their living environment is – then I can guide them to the most appropriate product for them.”
Customers can select from over 1,000 different SKUs of flooring product, from hardwood, laminate, carpet, and tile to the popular pet and kid-friendly, waterproof wood-looking plank. Every project is customized to the customer as nothing is housed in the store. By not inventorying the products, there is no pressure to push a particular product to meet a commission – as with other stores.
Chris explained that over half of his current business comes from luxury waterproof planking.
“It looks like wood, but it’s 100% waterproof,” he said and joked, “it’s life-proof. It comes in different styles and aesthetics to suit every home. You could take a piece of it and submerge it in a bathtub full of water, and still install it in your floor without any issues.
“Whatever you want, that’s what you get. We’re not hard-selling a particular item or particular product. We make the shopping experience comfortable and personable. People send in friends, family, and neighbors because we’re not a high-pressure service. We all our customers to come in and pick what’s right for them, what’s suitable for their environment. Every home is different. We let the customers tell us what they want, and we try to educate them on what would work best for them.”
Chris encourages customers to take home full-size samples of flooring to view in the lighting in their own home, and merely return when finished. Doing so allows customers to work by the process of elimination in making their selection, and ensures they are thrilled with their new floors.
“It’s like picking paint. It’s essential to look at samples in your own home and at different times of the day, to appreciate the true scope of color within the floor. Our showroom ’s well lit, but it’s fluorescent lighting in here, and often alters the true color of the samples. Often, when you look at a sample here, it may have a slight yellow hue to it; when you get it home, the yellow is gone, and you can now see the true color of the floor as it will appear in your home. It will look completely different in the lighting of your own home. We recommend you take home a dozen (samples) and move them around different rooms at different times of the day to get a full sense of the true actual scope of the color.”
RCI Flooring also offers complimentary, no-obligation consultations at your home.
Nearly half of Chris’ business comes from repeat customers, and women are his largest demographic, which works perfectly as RCI Flooring is located amongst by a hair salon, nail salon and other businesses geared towards women.
“Even though our location is a little bit of the road, we are in the perfect location. We’re a small business, so we’re a little different from the big box stores. We offer a service they can’t compete with because of the service we provide and not using subcontractors. Everything is in-house,” Chris explained. “We’re very much about the personal service that we offer that the big box stores can’t offer. We’re on-site making sure everything goes smoothly, and we do a final walk-through before the customer pays the balance to make sure that everything is their liking. We offer 0% financing and convenient online payments. We try to make it as customer-friendly and easy as we can. Our goal is to make a customer for life and make me their ‘flooring guy’ forever.”
RCI Flooring is open Monday through Saturday 9am-5: 30 pm. Enjoy a special promotion on waterproof wood-look and tile-look flooring in March with 12-month interest-free financing and save $300 off any project $3000 or above. To learn more or to schedule a free consultation, visit rciflooringcenter.com or find RCI Flooring on Facebook.