The recent Flooring Xtra conference held at the Old Melbourne Gaol provided the opportunity for all of the store owners and industry suppliers to share stories, successes and support. It was a time to learn new skills, celebrate accomplishments and reflect on the year that was for the ever-growing family of stores nationwide.

There was the awarding of the coveted state store winners and the nationwide store of the year as well. This was for all recipients a testament to their previous year’s hard work and no doubt provided motivation for others to achieve similar accolades in 2017.

The awards are tailored around the customers’ experience – the professionalism of the store, how they represent the brand and their sense of community within the Flooring Xtra group. In fact, this focus on customer service was a common thread running throughout the entire winning team and individually they all noted how much this side of the business drives their passion and enjoyment in the industry.

Karen from the Corowa store (joint NSW Store of the year) for example notes that “hearing the positive feedback from clients was what made her job so enjoyable, while Graham from Ocean Keys (WA Store of the year) stated that “the satisfaction of helping someone choose the right flooring and seeing their delight in the result” was what he loved about the industry.

While the passion for customer service was a commonality throughout the winning team, so too was the obvious support and happiness they felt by being part of a bigger group of stores. Tim from the Central Coast Store (Joint NSW store winner) felt that joining Flooring Xtra was “the best thing he ever did”. That’s Megan speaking on behalf of her Dad Tim, who also works in the business. This was reiterated too from our Ultimate Store (North Rockhampton, QLD store winner) Owner Jason noted he enjoys being part of Flooring Xtra, a “good group of people” who are a constant support where needed, even the nearby Queensland members which are only a phone call away.

Many of our store winners draw experience from their long work history in the flooring industry, while others bring completely different but compatible resumes to the table. Either way, there is a passion for success, promoting quality options for customer’s specific needs and ensuring everyone who walks through the store is given the attention they deserve. Trevor, the owner of the SA store of the year winner in Morphett Vale has been in the industry for a very long time. “Trevor has been an installer since he was 14 and opened his first store 25 years ago” says Maree, who has worked for Trevor for 8 years. Although now he enjoys chatting to customers in-store rather than installing these days! In contrast, Matt from the Victorian store in Karingal has had a varied career but states he can draw from his customer service background in IT to help his new customers. “There are good opportunities to change and improve existing businesses from the career experiences I’ve had”. Given he is both the National and Victorian winner; we will not argue with that logic!

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Learn a little more about our proud winners below:

Top Store National, Karingal – Ballarat VIC – Matt Sheehan

Matt and his partner decided on a “green-change” after living in frantic Melbourne for many years. Now back in Ballarat, where he grew up, Matt runs the business every day with a vision to make it the success that it has proven to be. While his father was in the flooring industry and has taught him many things, he also draws on his previous career in IT to continually improve upon the existing business. Even though he has a passion for IT, one thing that he likes best about the industry is that it will always require a human touch which will never be replaced by computers. The Karingal store will undoubtedly grow further in 2017 with Matt’s combined skills in customer service and drive to better the business being such a priority.

Top Store Western Australia, Ocean Keys – Clarkson – Graham Wright

Store owner Graham Wright has been in Australia for sixteen years, moving across the globe from the United Kingdom. We’re certainly glad he made the move, becoming this year’s Western Australian store winner. Back in the UK, Graham completed his apprenticeship and twenty-five years later he hasn’t looked back. The Ocean Keys community has welcomed the Flooring Xtra store which has been open for three and a half years, although Graham has run the store for nine years in total, so the acceptance of the new store is of no surprise!

Top Store New South Wales (Co-winner), Corowa – Karen & Brett St. John

Having left school at 15, Brett completed his apprenticeship and hasn’t looked back. This experience coupled with Karen’s passion for the customer care side of the industry makes for a great team. They’ve lived in the area for 13 years and love working in the town. They have been running their business for six years here, the past 18 months independently with Flooring Xtra where they’re growing constantly. They enjoy all aspects of running the business, but Karen states it’s “hearing the positive feedback from clients” which really makes their job worthwhile.

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Top Store New South Wales (Co-winner), Central Coast – West Gosford – Tim Miller

Tim has had his Central Coast store now for 10 years, so to say he knows the industry and his local community is an understatement! Like a few of his colleagues, Tim comes from an entirely different career prior to owning his store. After initially retiring from a job in the government, Tim decided he wasn’t done yet with work and entered the flooring world. They are a store with great connections to the local community, Tim noting “We support many local charities, sporting clubs including surf lifesaving, bowling clubs etc. We donate outdated carpet samples to local kindergartens free of charge.” Central Coast is a small family team, working closely together. Their favourite part of the job is hearing all of the positive client feedback, “This provides great motivation to keep up the good work”.

Top Store Queensland, Ultimate – North Rockhampton – Jason Martin

A Rockhampton local through and through, Jason grew up and went to high school in the area as well as starting his career in the industry locally. From when he first saw the opportunity to bring the Flooring Xtra brand to Rockhampton, he has not looked back. The locals have been very accepting of the business and Jason believes this is much to do with attracting clients into the store in the first place, with the “eye-catching and professional branding”. Once they’re in store, the clients are well looked after by Jason himself or his close team. In fact, his “stable team” is one of the things he enjoys best about the industry, alongside “seeing clients achieve their vision” of course!

Top Store South Australia, Morphett Vale – Trevor Dingwell

Trevor is a long-time Adelaide local, if you call at least 30 years as being a “local”! Trevor’s success is one based on hard work over his entire career in the flooring industry which started when he was just 14 years old. That and his ability to work out exactly what customers need which is where his chatty and friendly persona comes into play. Through care, time and attention, Trevor loves getting to know people and what they want, then drawing from his years of knowledge and experience to help them make flooring selections. There is really no surprise that Morphett Vale is a success.

So there you have our special winners for 2016. They would love to help you with your project in their stores so pop in!