As the carpet installation community continues to recover from the shocking news of the sudden passing of Andre Southworth, I would like to reflect upon something Jerry Miller said to me. He said he felt that CFI stood for “Certified Family of Installers.” Truer words have never been spoken.
As I reached out to my CFI “family” this past week, I came to a very startling realization. I would have the same degree of sorrow and sadness if the same thing had happened to any of them. My husband and I grieve for Andre as sincerely and intensely as we would for one of our own blood brothers. Probably more so, because over the past several years, we certainly spent much more time with Andre than we did with our own brothers. In one respect, CFI is better than family. You can’t always choose your relatives, whereas with CFI, we choose to be together.
People have looked at CFI and scratched their heads, wondering, “What is it about this organization?” I’ll tell you what it is: love. Sounds too simple and corny to be true, but that’s it in a nutshell. We are a group of different people sharing a common goal, the goal of restoring carpet installation to the glorified profession it once was, and dramatically improving the quality of the installer’s life. In other words, do a great job and get paid handsomely for it.
Who among us doesn’t desire, and in fact, deserve that? Is it really too much to ask the industry to charge for quality installation so it can pay for a quality installer? CFI doesn’t think that’s asking too much. It’s what we’ve been preaching all along, and we will continue to do so. Smarter installers make better businessmen.
When all of the other organizations “dedicated” to the floor covering installer fall the way of the dodo, CFI will still be standing. We’re not in this because of the money, we’re not in this for a golf outing or a fancy dinner, we’re not in this for a free ride. We do this because of love. How else can you explain a highly skilled group of professionals leaving their families and giving up work to work real hard helping other installers – all for free? How do you explain that? Have you heard of any other organization in this entire industry doing that for as long as CFI has? And we’ve only grown stronger, in case some of you weren’t paying attention.
Besides, I can tell you it’s love. If it wasn’t, our hearts wouldn’t hurt so much.