The Savvy Sylvanian … is Floored

–by Mary Helen Darah

L-R: Co-owner Terry Knight, designer Lynn Magdich, bookkeeper Christy Konz, and co-owner Rick Knight, of Modern Floors.
L-R: Co-owner Terry Knight, designer Lynn Magdich, bookkeeper Christy Konz, and co-owner Rick Knight, of Modern Floors.

A visit with Modern Floors
I must admit, I was a tad disappointed when I went to visit Modern Floors, at 5808 Secor Rd. I yelled “Modern Floors!” and no one came out to get me. My disenchantment quickly faded upon meeting Terry Knight, co-owner of the company. I had the false impression that only upstart bands emerge from garages but Knight enlightened me that businesses may begin there as well.

“My father started a hardwood flooring business in 1959 and actually worked out of his garage and van,” he fondly recalled. “Our mother used to accompany him on jobs even when they were dating. She would hand him nails. As time went on, he began to offer additional flooring options. Dad continued to work out of the garage until a roll of carpet fell onto my mother’s shoulder. He decided they needed to go into a warehouse instead of the garage for safety reasons.”

When the family grew, so did the business. “We grew up installing flooring part-time with the guys in the summers in between sports and other activities,” stated Knight. “That blew into full-time work. In the early 80s, home building came to a halt. My dad decided to go into retail sales out of a small showroom. This current location was once a Sunoco gas station that I worked in. The owner was retiring and we went ahead and purchased it in 1986.”

Growing the business
Knight and his brother Rick began to take the business over from their father. “When this store was completed, it started growing in leaps and bounds,” he stated. “Our dad passed away in 2013, and we were already renting the building from him. We have people that come in and say that they bought carpet 30 years ago from my dad. We have a great deal of repeat business which means a lot to us.”

The brothers pride themselves on continuing the legacy of their father and feel a vital factor in their success is the relationships they maintain with their installers. “We are very close to all our subcontracted employees. No one has ever quit us,” stated Knight. “We understand the hard work they do. They do a perfect job for our customers. No one is afraid to see them come into their house.”

Other key staff members include a trusted bookkeeper, Christy Konz, a part-time sales person, Maryanne Skertic and a full-time interior designer, Lynn Magdich. The designer assists clients in their decision-making process. She must be one busy and patient person. As someone who takes far too long to order a coffee at Starbucks, I couldn’t imagine selecting from their numerous flooring options.

Family roles
The brothers have diverse and active roles in the business. “Rick and I do the buying, the bidding and we unload products. We are a small business. We don’t have an individual for every little thing that needs to be done. When Rick and I worked with my father, we decided to let each other do our thing. We know what needs to be done, and we do it. We truly got along. That being said, we don’t vacation together,” he joked.

“I was actually planning to be an architect. But I get satisfaction from dealing with people. We are honest even if we risk losing a sale. We are up-front with costs, and there are no surprises. When we finish a job, everyone is happy.”

Laying out the future
Modern Floors will continue to offer carpet, hardwood floors, luxury vinyl tile and planks, laminates, and the newest in floor covering at their infamous location. “We have no end date in mind,” stated Knight. “We plan on keeping our doors open for years to come and hope people continue to yell ‘Modern Floors’.” The catchy slogan is yelled out school bus windows when kids go by. Modern Floors was also named as one of the best reasons to come to Toledo by a local radio station.

I would love to replace the carpet that covers my stairs that has pattern that looks as though it was picked out by someone’s great-aunt with vision issues. This Savvy Sylvanian may once again be yelling “Modern Floors!” in the near future, and I’m sure that next time someone will come out and get me.