Jim Gould, a 35-year veteran of the industry and former owner of Midwest distributor Misco Shawnee, said he has started a new consulting company for flooring professionals. The company, Floor Covering Institute LLC, focuses on both domestic and international business, including sourcing overseas and exporting from the U.S. Additionally, the St. Louis-based firm will consult on mergers and acquisitions.

Gould said that with the U.S. dollar weakening, it is more important than ever for companies to consider exporting their products to overseas markets. “Exporting from the U.S. is the most overlooked segment of the business,” Gould said. “We find ourselves in a position where the U.S. dollar is weak, yet we also are the best manufacturers for certain products like carpet. The export market is so large, and there’s not nearly enough attention being given to it.”

He said his company’s focus on the international business arena sets the Floor Covering Institute apart from other consulting firms. Additionally, he said his company will benefit from the knowledge of up to six other industry experts.

“I’m trying to make this company broader than just one person’s expertise,” Gould said. “I’m in the process of contacting several people about joining as full partners. By bringing several faculty members under one roof, we will be able to give our clients better direction. We would also affiliate ourselves with as many as 20 other companies to fill in any areas outside of our expertise.”

Though the company just opened its doors, the Floor Covering Institute already has several customers. They include Gould’s former employer CCA Global Partners, international trade show Domotex Asia/Chinafloor, “and a Chinese wood manufacturer and a U.S. manufacturer.”

Gould said he expects that the Floor Covering Institute will be fully up and running by the first of the year. “This is the kind of thing I look at and say ‘I’ve been training for this position for 35 years,” he said. “I’m ready to have some fun doing it.”

The Floor Covering Institute is located at Two City Place Drive, Ste. 200, St. Louis, MO 63141. For more information, call (314) 812-2700, or e-mail jgould@floorcoveringinstitute.com.