Jim Macdonald, principal at Commercial Flooring Professionals (CFP) in Camp Hill, Pa., has seen the company grow since it became its own entity in 2014. As CFP’s business opportunities and client base expand, the company is faced, for the first time, with finding replacements for its retiring skilled labor in order to keep up with project demand.
Q: How did you get started in the flooring industry?
Macdonald: I grew up in the retail side of the flooring industry. My dad started one of the first generation carpet stores in the 1950s. The success of that business lent to starting a commercial division in 1991. Commercial sales slowly grew, not through new construction bid work, but through personal relationships with facility directors and property owners. In 2014, this same commercial division spun off the parent company and became its own business, Commercial Flooring Professionals (CFP). This past year was a landmark year for CFP, in that we moved out from the building we shared and acquired our own building. We consider it both a blessing and a lot of work. We are grateful for both our past and for the current place we have. We have room to grow and we have been able to differentiate our own brand and culture.
Q: What is your favorite thing about the industry?
Macdonald: Meeting professional people who care about people. I am inspired by those who maintain a steady hand navigating financial sustainability and yet are grounded in the commitment to valuing individuals as people with inherent dignity. Close behind the favorite thing of meeting professional people is the exciting innovation that is being introduced to our industry! From magnetic floors to carpet tile installed over carpet tile and digital printing on carpet and LVP, we are in an exciting moment of innovation.
Q: How's business? What opportunities and challenges are you seeing?
Macdonald: Our business is doing very well. The metrics of sales and net income have grown steadily year over year. But what is an even greater joy is the quality people I am privileged to work with. Caring professionals who are selfless with their time and are patient with peers, installers and clients. I am humbled by both the numbers and the people in our business. Opportunities for us are identified in expanding our geographic reach and with the sales of related or less conventional products and services. We recently stepped into an opportunity we hadn’t expected and that is making our conference room a coworking space that we now share with an architect firm from another county. This has been a double win for us: new cash flow and potential business opportunities to work on specifications.
Our greatest challenge is replacing retiring skilled installers. Dealing with an expanding client base and a contracting installer pool at the same time is a first for us.
Q: How do you see the state of the industry right now?
Macdonald: We have a product and service that needs to be replaced and is essential for every new building constructed. I recognize that as job security for our industry. I see our industry as becoming more responsive to training and professionalizing. Both FCICA and WFCA are leading in this, and many of us are grateful for that.
Q: How did you become involved with FCICA and what benefits does the group offer?
Macdonald: I become involved with FCICA as a trial visit to one of its annual conventions. Growing up in the retail flooring side of the industry, I was acquainted with WFCA and CFI, but FCICA was a hidden gem. I found “my people” at FCICA! It is encouraging to meet and share best practices with others who care about the same things that I do. It is a commercial-specific place to discover not only people, but innovative solutions and new products. I benefit by helping my staff become more professional through the best practices gleaned from FCICA involvement. A goal for all of CFP’s project managers now is to work toward attaining CIM certification.