Family businesses are not the norm these days. Once upon a time, such independently-owned operations dotted the retail landscape. Now it is a tribute to the outstanding reputation, knowledge, and skill of Regent Floor Covering that it is one of a selected number of such businesses not only still going strong, but celebrating its 50th anniversary this year.
Established in 1963 by Felix Rossi and his partners, it is located at the Pennington Square Shopping center, Route One north in Pennington. It has a long history of satisfying customers who have remained loyal patrons over the years.
“Some of our customers are third generation,” says Joe Rossi, son of the founder, and now partner with Jay Kuti. “They know they can count on us. We have set a higher standard for quality service, and we strive to uphold our customers’ expectations.”
Mr. Rossi really learned the business from the inside out, coming in on weekends and after school as a boy, experiencing the full spectrum of the operation, including installation. He joined the business full-time in 1985, and became partner 20 years ago.
Customers, who are from all over the Princeton and Pennington area, find a complete selection of floor covering, including carpet and area rugs, hardwood, ceramic tile, stone, marble, and slate, vinyl, and laminates. Regent carries a wide range of products including the finest quality lines in all categories.
“We are set apart not only by the quality of our product, but because we sell, install, and service it,” adds Mr. Rossi. “In carpeting, the biggest thing today is the softness of the yarn. It’s both soft and durable, and people really like this.”
“It’s especially popular in the bedroom, living room, and den,” points out operations manager Christina Hughes. “Hardwood floors are also favored in living rooms, and we are seeing wider widths, with more texture.”
Hardwood laminates are big sellers now, add Mr. Rossi and Ms. Hughes. “In the bathroom and kitchen, porcelain tile can have a wood look. It doesn’t matter if it gets wet. It has become very popular in the last few years.”
Tile continues to be in demand with many customers, and for a variety of rooms. Regent Floor has a tremendous selection, with many sample floor designs on display in the attractive and spacious showroom.
“The diversity of the products within tile alone is incredible,” says Ms. Hughes. “Granite is very popular for countertops, porcelain and ceramic for floors, and also slate and marble. River stone is in demand for shower floors now, too. It’s a very textured look. We have products and tile that have a rustic to a more modern motif.”
Smooth and Polished
“Marble is available in different finishes, including textured for the floor and smooth and polished for the walls. Glass tile is offered in many designs and is often popular for accent. The design glass tile is a favorite for borders, but can also be used for entire wall tile, especially in the bathroom.”
Kitchens frequently feature laminates and tile, adds Mr. Rossi. “The latest is LVT — luxury vinyl tile. It can look like wood or stone, and is very durable. This has become very popular, and the price is right.”
Man-made and natural tile comes from all over the world, he and Ms. Hughes report. The color range is huge, with choices for every home decor and design.
In addition to floor covering, Regent offers a variety of window treatments, from shades to shutters, and in many styles and designs. Cordless, pleated, vertical, room-darkening — all are available.
As the company has evolved and expanded, it has really become a one-stop-shopping destination, especially by virtue of its remodeling and renovation capabilities. “The latest expansion was about 10 years ago, when we went into complete kitchen and bath remodeling,” reports Mr. Rossi. “It has been very successful. We were already doing backsplashes and countertops, and the customers really pushed us into it. They didn’t want to deal with all the different contractors. Now, we can do it all for them. We have in-house carpenters, plumbers, etc. — all the specialists.”
Regent is also known for carpet, tile, and grout cleaning, he adds. “Carpets should have a professional cleaning every 18 months and every three or four years for tile. We also do rug binding and repair. We provide service for everything we sell. We also do commercial as well as residential work, including stores, businesses, offices, restaurants, etc.”
Regent’s clients have included Gillespie Advertising, The Ferry House, Merrill Lynch, Chapin School, Princeton Theological Seminary, Princeton Township, and Princeton University, among others.
The Regent team, including 20 staff members, makes a point to attend shows and seminars around the U.S. in order to keep up-to-date with advances and new products.
There is a wide price range, and Regent works hard to be as affordable as possible, says Mr. Rossi. “We have something for everyone’s budget, and we will work with people to find the right product in their price range. We can offer flexible financing options.”
“We also have special sales periodically,” adds Ms. Hughes. “We will have promotions in May in connection with our 50th anniversary.”
Mr. Rossi has noticed a number of changes in his more than three decades in the business. The biggest change has been customer knowledge, he reports. “People are more informed than ever. They have done research on the internet, and it makes it easier for us. Because they have that knowledge, they appreciate a company that knows what it is doing and has integrity. After 50 years in the same community, we have earned the customers’ trust.
“I enjoy seeing a project come together,” he continues, “and seeing the customer be so pleased with an outcome that was above and beyond their expectations. And it is never dull! Every day is different, every job is different, every customer is different.”
“We surround ourselves with complete knowledge of our products,” points out Ms. Hughes. “I look forward to continuing our relationship with the customers and being able to offer so many product choices for them.”
Regent Floor Covering is open Monday, Tuesday, Friday 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., Wednesday and Thursday 9 to 8, Saturday 10 to 4. (609) 737-2466. Website: www.regentfloorcovering.com.