By Jerri Stroud, BBB Editor
When Karen Rose started selling carpet in 1980, she was looking for a way to work from home while her children were small. She had been demonstrating microwave ovens for companies who were trying to popularize the appliance, but she wasn’t convinced they would ever become popular.
“I wanted to sell something that people really wanted,” said Rose, whose son, Michael, now owns and runs Classic Carpet & Flooring of Florissant. Karen Rose still makes some sales to long-time clients and friends for fun, she said.
In the beginning, Karen Rose went to distributors and asked them to teach her about flooring so she could be a shop-at-home representative.
Very few women were running flooring companies then, and she had trouble getting a line of credit. Her husband, who worked for Emerson, put up some of his stock to help her get started.
But her shop-at-home business model proved popular, and the business soon outgrew her garage. Several customers became employees. She rented space in two or three different commercial buildings before taking over a former meat market at the corner of North New Florissant Road and St. Francois Street in Old Town Florissant.
From the beginning, Rose said her model for ethics was the Golden Rule. “You’re going into people’s homes and forming a bond with them,” she said. “You treat people the way you want to be treated.”
Michael Rose said the company’s code of ethics is true to that principle and adds that “personal integrity, trustworthiness and customer satisfaction are crucial to the success of our business,” along with promising quality work and meeting or exceeding customers’ expectations.
Classic Carpet offers “a quality job at a fair price,” he said. The company has kept its overhead low so that it can offer customers a good value on higher-end products.
“A lot of customers trade up to better products,” said Karen Rose. “That makes them happier.”
Salespeople are instructed to avoid pressuring people, giving them time and even making multiple visits to customers’ homes, if needed, to make sure customers are happy with the choices they make. Classic offers dozens of products, including carpet, wood, vinyl and ceramic flooring.
“We live in a busy world, and people have a lot of other choices,” Michael Rose said.
The company offers installation by crews that have been with Classic for years. Installers are instructed to walk through the job with the customer when work is completed. “If there’s any issue,” Rose tells his employees to “settle it right then.”
Michael Rose calls customers a few days after each installation is completed. If he hears of any problems or things a customer thought could have been done better, he passes that along to his installation manager.
Rose said most of the training is one-on-one because the company has so little turnover. But salespeople also are encouraged to take advantage of online training provided by manufacturers. He also welcomes demonstrations of new products from manufacturers’ representatives.
“It’s a big deal to know the products,” he said. “It’s the real key to finding the right product for the customer.”
Classic is a long-time supporter of Marygrove, a Florissant charity that helps disabled and abused children. It has provided free flooring, and Karen Rose ran a recent fundraiser for charity. Classic has made other donations to local charities and has allowed employees to take time off for charitable or church projects.
Profiles of BBB Accredited Businesses and BBB Accredited Charities are created as part of BBB’s TORCH Award process and are not intended as an endorsement. Winners will be selected later this summer. This year’s TORCH Awards luncheon
will be Oct. 14 at the Chase Park-Plaza.