By Richard Mundy
For Hometown News
Unlike what most folks might think, T&M Floors does not stand for tile and marble floors. It stands for Ted and Michelle Padgett, owners of the four-year old flooring company in Ormond Beach.
"We met at my 19th birthday party", said Michelle Padgett. "He was working for his cousin at maybe 13 or 14 years old, and then for the union when he was old enough."
It may not have been "love at first sight," according to Mrs. Padgett, but she added, "It was serious attraction at first sight." They've been "partners" ever since, recently celebrating their 29th wedding anniversary.
As for what will attract customers to T&M Floors, it provides a range of products and services, including hardwood flooring, carpet, laminates, tile, kitchen remodels and bathroom remodels to name a few. They offer a full line of Beaulieu and Shaw carpet products from textures to Berbers; floor tiles in all sizes and colors, both hand scraped and mirror finishes; and exotic hardwood and bamboo floors beginning at $2 a square foot. Anderson is one of their manufacturers. They partner with a variety of contractors for appliances, plumbing and electrical to provide a turnkey service for customers.
There are many things that make one store a better choice than others. In the case of T&M, it is the experience of the installer, the knowledge T&M brings to a job, quality merchandise and materials with professional installation, and a desire to give the best service to create a happy and returning customer.
Prior to opening their own shop, Mrs. Padgett was working for the school board and Mr. Padgett was a subcontractor installer for one of the "big box" stores and managed a large independent flooring store. But as the economic downturn began in earnest, with Mr. Padgett being one of the "senior" members of the company, the Padgetts sensed a change was coming. So at that point, they decided to strike out on their own at probably the worst possible time for a new start-up business.
They decided to open a store in a 1,000-square-foot space and took out a full-page ad in Hometown News.
"We were shocked", said Mrs. Padgett. "We took out the ad a couple weeks before we started."
Customers were lined up and "and we weren't even open," Mr. Padgett said. "We were writing out tickets on yellow paper."
Within two months they needed to expand into another unit of the building they were in. Within three more months, they needed to move into a third unit. About a year and a half ago they moved into even larger accommodations at 275 S. Yonge St. in Ormond Beach.
The appearance of the newest store is inviting with sufficient space to walk and compare products, and even walk on a number of the samples laid out for that purpose. But it still is not big enough, so they are planning to take over the space next door, gut it and remodel, which will give them about 5,000 square feet of retail space and 3,000 square feet for storage and office.
They are the proud parents of three children, all of whom have worked in the store at one time or another, with two still helping out when necessary. Their oldest just recently moved to Maine with his wife and child where he is, what else, laying tile.
The partners in matrimony as well as merchandising complement each other perfectly to create a successful business. Mr. Padgett has the knowledge, experience and skills necessary to manage the installations. "He's actually laid carpet in the White House," Mrs. Padgett said. "Ted is mathematically inclined and extremely detail oriented."
Mr. Padgett countered with, "You know she's the backbone of this company."
Mrs. Padgett is a ball of energy with personality plus. She also does double duty as the accountant for the business.
As far as plans for the future, Mrs. Padgett said, "We'd like to open a satellite, possibly in St. Augustine."
The territory they cover now is about 30 to 40 miles around Ormond Beach. Mrs. Padgett summed it all up with, "We just do everything together. I trust him 150 percent with his decisions."
T&M Floors is at 275 S. Yonge Street, Ormond Beach. For information, call (386) 236-8635 or visit ormondbeachflooring.com.