We sat down with Dave Bahr, vice president of Hiller Commercial Floors in Rochester, Minn., to get his take on the state of the industry and the benefits of FCICA membership.
Q: How did you get started in the flooring industry?
My dad started me out in the warehouse when I turned 13. He paid $.35 an hour in 1965. From there I was an installer becoming a journeyman while still in high school. After college, I joined the sales team and eventually bought the company along with my business partner, Rob Elder. Rob does the residential side of the business while I work the commercial side. We have each brought in our sons to continue the business into the fourth generation.
Q: What is your favorite thing about the flooring industry?
I love meeting new people, figuring out their needs and delivering the right products on time and in a professional manner. This business can be very rewarding, not only financially, but also knowing when you have completed a flooring project and gained a lifelong loyal customer is very satisfying.
Q: How’s business? What opportunities and challenges are you seeing?
Business is great. There are always opportunities to increase your business by going out and gathering up more. Our only limits are the number and quality of our installation partners.
Q: How do you see the state of the industry right now?
Our main concern is moisture issues associated with LVT installations in commercial buildings, especially schools. This never used to be a problem but is all too common now. There should be an adhesive option to address this, but so far none are reliable. These failures are very costly as are the solutions.
Q: How did you become involved with FCICA and what benefits does the group offer?
We received a flier about a convention and the topics covered were topics we were interested in. We attended and really liked the education, the fellow attendees and the vendors who supported the organization. We have been members ever since. The one-on-one product discussions with vendors are invaluable and many have become valuable suppliers for our company. Sharing problems with other dealer/contractors has also been helpful in addressing odd situations from jobs to employees to contractors.