From the ground up

Scott More knows floors. After 40 years in the flooring industry, that’s no surprise. He’s seen trends come and go, and new technologies and materials move the trade ahead. But one thing has remained consistent – well, grown, actually – his passion for the business.

Growing up in Chicago, Scott learned the business from the ground up from his father and chose to follow in his footsteps. “My father believed that if you have a trade, you can go anywhere and make a living. My youngest brother is a lawyer, my middle brother is a marketing consultant for big corporations and I’m a flooring guy. We all learned how to put in floors, it’s just that I stuck with it. And I love what I do,” he says.

Scott started as an installer, moved up to sales and finally opened his own business, Arizona Flooring Direct, seven years ago, with the explicit goal of providing luxury flooring at an affordable cost.

“I was tired of seeing people being taken advantage of. The economy was really tanking. And people, if they could stay in their house, wanted to fix it up and I wanted to make flooring affordable for them,” he says.

It was a risky time to start a company. When Scott went to get his business license, the clerk questioned why he was opening a construction-related company during the recession. But Scott reasoned that if competitors were leaving the business, this might be a good time to step in with his pricing structure of cost + 15%. “I thought I could make this work,” he says. “My wife even thought I was a little bit crazy.” But his strategy paid off, and Arizona Flooring Direct has since grown to three locations. His clientele has expanded from individual homeowners to real estate agents, restoration companies and commercial entities, including a synagogue.

As both retailer and installer, Scott stands by his company’s work. The Arizona Registrar of Contractors requires a two-year guarantee on labor, but Scott says, “I give people a lifetime [guarantee]. As long as I’m in business, if anything fails due to installation error, I will fix it free. Because I believe that if it’s done right the first time, it should last.”

Products include carpet, ceramic tile, laminate, hardwood, natural stone, cork flooring and porcelain planks. Right now, wood-look porcelain planks are definitely the hot item. These long, narrow planks look like wood but cost less and are more durable. “It’s virtually indestructible, unless you take a hammer to it,” Scott says. “Normal wood gets dented and scratched. A lot of people get crazy when they see a dent or scratch on their floor, so this is another option for them.”

One trend that Scott encourages Arizona homeowners to steer away from is bamboo flooring. He says that bamboo requires moisture and that in the dry Arizona climate, bamboo dries out, splinters and falls apart. For customers seeking green solutions, Arizona Direct Flooring offers other sustainable materials, such as natural cork and reclaimed wood.

When it comes to carpet, for customers with young children or pets, Scott recommends triexta, a relatively new, stain proof fiber also known as SmartStrand. “You can do anything to this. You can pour bleach on it. Pet stains are covered. Only two things are not covered – motor oil and vomit. Everything else is covered 100% forever.” Scott says that he recommends it strongly, even though he knows he may never see the customer again. “It’s probably the last carpet you’ll ever have to buy.”

Scott says they recently started doing bathroom remodels as well. After buying a home that he describes as a fixer-upper, Scott discovered mold behind the shower walls. He researched and found a company that makes a waterproofing membrane underlayment called Schluter. “It’s phenomenal. We can redo your bathroom and make it gorgeous and safe.”

If you’re in the market for new flooring, Scott’s main advice is to do your research. “There’s a wealth of information online. There’ve been a lot of new innovations in the last 10-15 years. A lot of people are stuck in a mindset. Open up, loosen up a little bit and understand that there are new technologies and new ways of doing things. If you do the research, you’ll find the right product. Knowledge is power.”

Once you have an idea about the product you want, Scott recommends that you take home a sample so you can see how it looks under different lighting conditions in your own home. “People are spending a lot of money, and we work much harder for our money than we ever did before. Once it’s down, it’s going to be there for quite a while, so let’s make sure it is the right product.”

Scott genuinely loves helping prospective customers explore and find the best flooring to meet their needs and tastes. “To me this isn’t a job. It’s my passion. It’s such a great feeling to walk into somebody’s home and make it beautiful. When we’re done with somebody’s home, I see their look of amazement and how happy they are, and that’s a great feeling. As corny or cliché as it sounds, I love it.”

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