From the time he was 13 years old, Brad Cramer has been around the carpet business. The owner of Cramer’s Carpet One Floor and Home has a lifetime of carpeting experience and know-how to offer, and he’s been doing so in Madison, NJ, for 32 years.
The proprietor opened Cramer’s Carpet One in 1985, moving to the store’s current location at 73 Main St. in 2001 after his extensive inventory simply outgrew the original storefront down the street. The reason for that extends beyond the sales success the store has enjoyed for decades.
It’s also about the volume of merchandise in which Cramer deals. Although the name of the store might suggest otherwise, Cramer is quick to stress that “We are not just a carpet store.”
Anything related to flooring projects has become an integral component of Cramer’s Carpet One Floor and Home.
“We have hardwoods, ceramics, vinyl, window treatments, carpet cleaning and more,” Cramer said. “Our store extends 100 feet back, and customers may not realize that the back section is a hard surface department.”
Cramer’s Carpet One might have a hard surface department, but the store has been able to endure and even flourish during hard economic times.
“Dealing with the ups and downs of the economy has been a challenge,” Cramer said, “but we have been able to diversify by opening ourselves up to carpet cleaning and floor sanding. We also cater to four large insurance providers (in the area).”
It has all been a big step up from where Cramer started out. His grandfather was a manufacturer of Oriental rugs in his native Turkey before migrating to the U.S. and opening stores in New York. Cramer’s father followed suit as a carpet installer, and ended up selling his installation business to Cramer six years before he opened Carpet One in this college town in Morris County, NJ.
And while the Carpet One name is national, and Cramer’s knowledge and success vast, he remains committed to a large local presence and community involvement.
“I’m the treasurer of the Downtown Development Committee and a member of the Chamber of Commerce in Madison,” Cramer said. “It’s all about giving back to the community.”
Cramer is married to his high school sweetheart, Bonnie, who has been a very active member of the Madison community.
As far as cutting-edge product developments are concerned, Cramer’s Carpet One is offering new lines and carpet fibers, including Tigressa SoftStyle carpeting, which Cramer says “is made out of a silky yarn that’s as soft as silk, even though it’s actually nylon. It’s new technology, a brand new innovation. They made the nylon strands smaller.”
Flooring products sold at Cramer’s Carpet One with a Titanium, Platinum or Gold SelectAFloor warranty carry “The Beautiful Guarantee,” which states that, after installation and during the time frame allotted, should the customer wish to exchange his or her new flooring for a different SelectAFloor flooring in the same category, but in a different style or color, Cramer’s Carpet One will replace it free with another SelectAFloor style or color of equal or lesser value.
The retail business itself has also experienced some seismic shifts over the last three decades.
“Most street retailers lose out to the big box stores unless they have affiliations that help you with marketing, product, pricing and enable bulk pricing,” said Cramer, whose independently owned store is part of Carpet One, a nationwide affiliation for flooring retailers which supplies these aforementioned services so that Cramer can focus on customer service and product quality for the customer. As a cooperative with 1,000 stores worldwide, Cramer’s Carpet One has significant buying power, as well as partners in all of the major brands, mills and manufacturers.
Cramer has also adapted to the changing methods of marketing in the 21st century. “The biggest learning factor for me is where marketing and advertising dollars are being spent. Today, 80 percent is being spent electronically rather than on paper. It’s gone from paper to computer and now to mobile,” Cramer said.