Many things should be considered that aren’t when it comes to your flooring, say the associates at the new Portage Flooring Store.
Customers might at first focus only on style — and for good reasons — but other factors like durability and comfort and practicality should matter to them too.
“We won’t put carpet in a bathroom, for example,” said the store’s owner Freeman Decorah. “That’s one thing we won’t do.”
Carpet in kitchens or wood flooring in basements mark two more things customers would probably get talked out of in the Portage Flooring Store, for obvious reasons: the carpeting would be susceptible to stains and the wood flooring to water damage. Carpeting in bathrooms was surprisingly popular in the 1970s and 1980s, Decorah said, “And so we tear it out all the time.”
Customer service is central to their identity, Manager Katie Lashway said. The store that opened May 21 at 201 E. Wisconsin St. has six in-house installers and uses subcontractors as sparingly as possible so that when customers have questions, they should expect to get answers.
“That’s why we keep everybody up to date on products and installation and provide yearly training for all of our installers and sales representatives,” she said. “Having your own in-house installers is big because it provides more consistent quality of work. You know what you’re getting.”
The Portage Flooring Store is a satellite operation of the Reedsburg Flooring Store that opened in 2016. At both locations the business offers carpeting, luxury vinyl, hardwood and tiles and carries carpet brands like Mohawk and Shaw, Mullican for hardwood floors and Karndean for the vinyl, among others. Though store space is small in Portage at 800 square feet, it offers everything the store in Reedsburg does. Decorah is partnered in the venture with Nick McPherson and Matt LaRowe, all of Reedsburg — the three of them combining for more than 60 years of experience installing floors.
“That’s the first thing to know,” Decorah said of their combined experience. “The other thing is we’re constantly refreshing our training.”
The store belongs to several flooring organizations — including World Floor Covering Association and National Wood Flooring Association — and follows the guidelines of Tile Council of North America and Carpet and Rug Institute and more, Decorah said.
“Another thing I think sets us apart is our ability to do next-level design and installation. We actually prefer to do next-level designs for people.”
The Portage Flooring Store is open Monday through Saturday. It hosts an open house following a Portage Area Chamber of Commerce ribbon cutting at 5 p.m. July 2, and at some point after that it will hold a grand opening featuring discounted items, Lashway said.
“They’re not new to flooring. They’re new to our area,” said Marianne Hanson, the Chamber’s executive director. Portage is also home to Freedom Carpeting on East Albert Street, and so the addition of another flooring store is a sign of healthy business growth in the city, she added. “There’s a larger population market to serve than just Portage, thinking of the outer communities of Pardeeville, Poynette and then even Marquette County and the Montello area.
“(Flooring stores) have wide opportunities for business based on the location in Portage, since a lot of people come to our community to shop for groceries, convenience items or home decorations. So the potential is there for reaching a large market.”