Learn how Emery’s Carpet & Fine Flooring has kept upgrading floors for 40-plus years
Published 12:38 am Wednesday, July 5, 2023
Forty-two years and a few days ago, Thayne Kistler turned the key and opened the doors to Emery’s Carpet & Fine Flooring — and those doors have been open ever since.
The story of Emery’s goes back a bit farther with the meeting of Kistler and Dennis Emery. Kistler was a college student working at a flooring business in Corpus Christi when Emery, who had seven years experience in the carpet industry, came in looking for a job. So Kistler called his boss and told him of Emery.
Emery and Kistler’s boss went to lunch and afterward Kistler had a new boss, Emery, he said.
College student Kistler wasn’t too excited at the news because of all of the hard work he had done. But he soon got over it.
Two days later when he came back in to work, Emery had jobs ready to go, installers working and everything handled. All he had to do was go out and sell.
“It didn’t take me long to get over my ego trip. I think it took about two days when I realized that he knew way more than I did. He knew what he was doing. I was flying by the seat of my pants,” Kistler said.
They became friends, opened their own place and Kistler came to this area to open a store July 1, 1981, he said.
The original location of the Port Arthur store was a a block south of where he’s currently located at 2200 Memorial Blvd. He lost that store in Hurricane Rita.
Kistler and Emery stayed business partners for a while before splitting up. Emery kept everything on this side of Interstate 45. He has since passed away.
Flooring styles and preferences come and go, and Kistler has learned to gauge this. The current big thing at Emery’s is waterproof vinyl plank, although wood, ceramic tile and porcelain tile are also sought. Laminate flooring is trying to make a comeback.
“Vinyl plank is just taking the world by storm and then there’s still the carpet people. They still want soft in their bedrooms to walk on. It’s softer, and they’ve made it more durable. they’ve made it more stain resistant, so it’s still an attraction,” he said.
One thing he learned many years ago is you don’t have to be the first one on the block to have something new. Something that is popular in Houston may take years before it becomes popular here, and if something fizzles out, you weren’t out of money, he added.
He gave an example of this situation. A man walked into the store in 1982 selling grey carpet.
The man told Kistler the grey carpet is selling like crazy in Houston
“I’m telling you what, you buy a roll of this and just put it in your inventory. And everybody’s gonna love it,” the man told Kistler. “Okay, I bought a roll and he was right. Everybody loved it. Nobody bought it because it didn’t go with their stuff. But everybody loved it.”
He ended up selling the roll to a man who owned an appliance store and the carpet was used on top of pedestals to display inventory.
With having been around 42 years, Emery’s has generations of customers.
“We’ve been real fortunate to have generations of customers,” he said.
It may be parents, then children, then grandchild or maybe an adult child will bring his or her parents in.
Emery’s is a family business with Kistler at the helm, and his daughter and wife work there sometimes, too. There are also good installers who, he said, make all the difference.
Kistler pondered on the definition of success when considering Emery’s 42 years.
“If successful is paying the bills, getting the kids through school, there you go. Having a little bit of a life and a wife who will tolerate you for over 30 years. Then that’s what it is. If it’s about making a whole bunch of money. Well, I slipped up somewhere there; we’re okay,” he said.
One of the key factors to being successful is following up with customers without being pushy, he said. Just letting the customer know he’s there if they need him.
Emery’s is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays through Fridays. Call 409-985-8821 for Saturday hours.