G. Fried Flooring has been located off of Tamiami Trail for 40 years. From this location it has provided the community with specialty tile, laminate, vinyl, hardwood and carpeting. Although the retail group has 500 stores nationwide, each store is locally owned. G. Fried provides flooring for residential and commercial businesses throughout Manatee and Sarasota counties.
Location: 4608 S. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota; servicing Manatee and Sarasota counties
Start date: 1972
First job ever: My first job, ever, was as a dishwasher for Uncle Otey’s Starlight Restaurant and Pancake House/Truck Stop on Tamiami Trail in 1963.
What is something you wish you knew when you got started in business?
Probably to have gotten more involved in the bookkeeping and finances of the business more than the sales aspect, because the information I used to get from CPAs was about two months old. If I did it myself, I would have had instant information.
Favorite way to spend a day off: Fishing.
Biggest challenge: Dealing with the economic depression … the amount of business and people buying flooring isn’t nearly what it was in 2005; the industry is down 60%.
Typical day on the job: I help my sales staff figure out their jobs, look at their plans, go over their orders. I network in the community at different functions and (spend time) meeting people. I also do housekeeping around the store — pretty much what any manager would probably do.
Business idol: Warren Buffett, because he’s got his fingers in everything.
Where do you see your business in five years? With at least one more location. Right now there are three locations in Florida.
Number of employees when started: Two
Number of employees today: Nine
On winning 2012 Small Business of the Year, 10 employees or fewer: The Longboat Key Chamber is a (great one). It has been a pleasure being an ambassador for the chamber.
Info: Call 315-6661, visit flooringamerica-sarasota.com or follow Flooring America on Facebook for more information.