Enhancing Products, Services, and Customer Care

Taylor Flooring
Written by Nate Hendley

There have been momentous changes at Taylor Flooring since Construction in Focus profiled the booming Dartmouth, Nova Scotia-based business in December 2022.

Since that feature ran, a decision was made to take Taylor Flooring and a firm called Wacky’s Flooring & Lighting and “merge them into one brand. The goal is to amalgamate the services we have under one brand and one name,” explains Sales Manager, Patrick Wood.

Taylor Flooring and Wacky’s Flooring & Lighting are both owned by the same parent company, Creative Flooring Solutions. If all goes to plan, a new retail outlet called the Taylor Design Centre will open early in 2024 at a Wacky’s location in Dartmouth. Blending Taylor and Wacky’s will create a “one-stop shop,” that will make things “a little bit more seamless for our clients,” Wood says.

Despite this huge move, some things at Taylor Flooring remain the same. In addition to its Dartmouth headquarters, the company has branches in Bridgewater, Sydney, and Halifax, Nova Scotia, although details about the post-merger operations of these branches are still being established. The company specializes in flooring finishes and counts carpets, hardwood, laminate, tiles, water-resistant flooring, and luxury vinyl as its main products. Thanks to the merger, however, some major changes are pending on the vendor front.

“Our offerings don’t really change,” states Wood. “With the merging of the brands, however, we’ll be able to merge a lot of our suppliers. Up until this point, there were some suppliers that were exclusive to the Wacky’s brand and some that were exclusive to Taylor; we felt as long as we were separate brands this made a lot of sense and helped with our competitiveness. Now we can take the best of the brands and merge those as well.”

Laminate and luxury vinyl are Taylor’s top-selling products, with water-resistant laminate proving particularly popular. RevWood is one of the leading water-resistant laminate brands the company stocks. Waterproof or water-resistant does not mean “flooring that can withstand a flood,” but refers to laminate that can handle spills, messes, and small puddles without being ruined.

“When we talk about water-resistant and waterproof, really what we’re talking about is everyday life. You might have some toddlers running around. They’re spilling stuff and you’re not able to get that cleaned up right away,” Wood explains.

Private residential, retail, office, hospital, and multi-unit apartments are the main markets served by the company. “The multi-residential [sector] has been and continues to be our biggest growth area. The amount of growth our builders are seeing—t doesn’t seem to want to slow down.”

Smaller commercial projects involving, for example, an office building having its foyer updated or a new carpet laid, represent another significant growth area.

In business since February 1993, Taylor Flooring marked its 30th anniversary last year. Wood says a legacy of excellent customer service has been key to the company’s longevity. “When Robert Taylor started the company, he was big on making sure that every customer was served to the best of our ability,” he says.

Founder Robert Taylor sold the business in 2012, and it is now run by Creative Flooring Solutions, which also owns several other companies—or divisions as Wood prefers to call them. Besides Wacky’s, these divisions include Creative Sports Solutions (CSS) which handles flooring, seating, bleachers, and other features at athletic facilities; Specfloor Atlantic, which specializes in marine flooring on boats; and Ralph Connor Co. Ltd (RCCL), flooring contractors.

The new Taylor Design Centre will offer a wide array of products and services. Design Centre customers will be able to select fabrics, window coverings, lighting, and cabinets, as well as flooring finishes. “All the things when you’re designing a new home, we can take care of all in one place,” says Wood.

In addition to selling these wares, Taylor installs them too. The company offers a full installation service for tile and self-performs most carpet installations. Other types of flooring, plus cabinets, lighting, tubs, staircases, and custom showers can also be installed upon customer request, either by Taylor staff or select sub-contractors. While installation is a rapidly growing part of the business, such services are meant to augment, not displace, the company’s core offerings. The same goes for non-flooring-related products.

“We do flooring really well, and we will always be a flooring company; that’s where our base is. But if we can continue to grow our cabinet division and build the same reputation there as we do in flooring, [such products] are going to be the areas that will keep our company strong in the long term,” says Wood.

Taylor Flooring has roughly 25 employees at present, and anyone looking for work here needs to be willing to learn on the job. “For the most part, almost everybody is trainable. It would be nice to have flooring specialists, but they are far and few between,” shares Dartmouth Store Manager, Bryce Zinck, of applicants.

A collegial personality is another important character trait in employees. “We look for people that are able to hold a conversation and have that eagerness to talk to [customers]. There’s nothing worse than walking into a store and have somebody sitting there staring at their phone, not wanting to get up and help people,” says Wood. Self-motivated people are welcome as well, given the company culture. “We try to keep an open door policy. If you have a suggestion or an idea of how we might do things better, bring it to us. We want to keep evolving as customers are evolving,” he says.

Previously, coping with COVID-related supply chain delays, price increases, and labour shortages were some of Taylor Flooring’s biggest challenges. In recent months, these disruptions have “settled down a bit. Shipping has been nice and consistent over the last several months,” says Wood. “Pricing has started to equalize a little bit, which allows us to offer better pricing for the client.”

As for its labour force, the company has been trying hard to “meet our employees where they need to be. [We’re being] a little bit more flexible, making sure our schedules aren’t quite as tight so that when we do have some hiccups with COVID or colds, we can mitigate those things much easier,” he continues.

In true silver linings fashion, the COVID pandemic “made us more mindful. Making sure customers are comfortable is very important. We still see people coming in with masks, so we always like to ask, ‘Would you like me to put one on?’” he says. “COVID has also helped us with efficiencies, made us more aware of how we do things.”

When it comes to suppliers, while not getting complacent, the company prefers to stick with vendors with whom it has built relationships. “I think with the suppliers that we have we’re always looking for what’s new—trying to keep it a little more on the cutting edge. If there are new products that are coming out, we want to make sure they fit with our clients,” says Wood.

The company regularly attends trade shows and advertises via billboards and radio. “Because a lot of our customers are 40 and above, radio is still very current for them. We try to meet them where they are. I think there are opportunities for us to expand into TikTok and some of those other platforms with the younger generation,” he says.

For all that, reputation and word-of-mouth referrals remain central to any promotional efforts, says Zinck. These two factors are particularly important given that the company has a big presence in small communities where word travels fast. “We have the reputation of being the best… and that’s how the business grows, because of reputation,” he says.

Taylor Flooring enhances that reputation while cultivating community ties with its ongoing sponsorship of local hockey teams, toy drives, and other philanthropic ventures.

Going forward, “I think the goal is what it’s always been: we want to stay number one within our industry. We want to continue to grow, to take market share, keep offering and finding new ways of expanding our services to what our clients need,” says Wood.

“We really see the merger as an excellent opportunity to be able to continue to serve our clients and be able to grow within our industry here. We really hope the merger is seen as the [consolidation] of what’s been going on behind the scenes for the last several years. It’s going to help solidify all the services we have under one place and one brand.”

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