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Rochester Top 100: Company lays down a record of fast growth

Rochester Business Journal
October 23, 2015

Christian Flooring of New York Inc. opened its first retail store on West Henrietta Road in 2010. Since then, the company has added two more locations. The Webster store opened on Ridge Road in 2012 and the Greece store followed in late 2013 on West Ridge Road.

The company offers flooring products, including carpeting, hardwood and tile to both residential and commercial customers. It has seen significant revenue growth, with an increase from $3.7 million in 2012 to $6.7 million in 2013 and up to $9.3 million in 2014.

While the company continues to grow, CEO Christian Curts does not anticipate it will keep up with the pace it has seen the last few years.

“We are taking our foot off the accelerator in 2015,” Curts said. “It’s becoming more difficult for retail, especially for small-business retail. There can be a plateau at some point and significant growth becomes a challenge because of limited access to capital.”

It is a struggle to retain the company’s significant market share amid rising costs when he refuses to pass those costs on to customers, Curts added. He credits customer loyalty as a large part of the company’s continued growth.

Another marker of its success, he said, is the faith-based philosophy behind the company’s name and the way it conducts business.

“There is a faith element here,” Curts said. “The only outward reference to religion is in our logo (which features a cross). But we are based on integrity. We care about doing things right.

“To have the dominant market share we have is a great indicator of the types of customer experience we give.”

That customer experience includes a more human approach, he said, by limiting the technology and increasing personal attention. Finding qualified personnel is critical and sometimes challenging.

“We look for certain character. It’s a constant balance between industry experience and character that we want,” Curts said.

The company has 105 employees.

Finding the right personnel is one factor limiting the company’s growth, but it is important to take the time to make the best hiring decisions.

The company experienced some growing pains in the area of personnel when it opened its second store. Christian Flooring acquired Webster Custom Carpet in 2012. The deal included retaining all of the store’s employees, inventory and furniture.

“That’s the nice thing about acquisitions,” said Nathaniel Calder, chief operating officer. “There is an established customer base. You can get business started up more quickly.”

There turned out to be a down side in that case though, he said.

“The employees we took over in Webster didn’t work out. They turned out not to be a good fit,” Calder said, adding they were phased out and replaced.

The company took a lesson from that. Acquisitions continue to be a solid growth model for Christian Flooring, Calder said, with certain companies fitting the bill better than others.

“If we do acquisitions we like to do small businesses. We look at those that are customer-satisfaction driven,” he said. “They are good at problem solving.”

Employees at Christian Flooring include sales, office staff and flooring installers who are mainly in their early 50s and a few construction laborers in their late 20s to early 30s.

The next acquisition came with the 2013 purchase of the Sail On Carpet store in Greece. This time, Calder said, it was a much easier transition.

“It was a better fit. The culture was more similar to ours, and we kept the majority of the employees,” he said.

Calder said the company values its employees as much as it values its customers. When they hire people, they are looking to hire them for the long term and consider them part of the family.

“We care about our employees,” Calder said. “We have a lot of families to take care of.”

The Rochester Top 100 program is presented by the Rochester Business Alliance Inc. and KPMG LLP. Launched in 1987, it recognizes the fastest-growing private companies in Greater Rochester. The 2015 Rochester Top 100 event will be held Nov. 4. For more information, go to rochesterbusinessalliance.com.

Christian Flooring of
New York Inc.
Sales and installation of residential and commercial flooring products and services.
Year founded: 2010
Top executive: Christian Curts, CEO
Current employment: 105
2014 ranking: 11
Headquarters: Henrietta
Website: www.christianflooring.com

10/23/15 (c) 2015 Rochester Business Journal. To obtain permission to reprint this article, call 585-546-8303 or email service@rbj.net.


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