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Remembering the much loved and respected Flooring Industry Expert, Peter Simon

by Ofentse Sefolo
Remembering the much loved and respected Flooring Industry Expert, Peter Simon

It is with sadness that we reflect on the passing of Peter Simon, who will always be remembered for his passion, vision and knowledge of the flooring industry.

Peter originally started his career at Marley Flooring in Cape Town in the early 70’s and used his wealth of knowledge, experience and unwavering drive to make a lasting impression in an industry that he loved. In his words, “I hope to make a meaningful contribution to an industry that has played such a vital role in my life, while striving for excellence in all that I do to achieve ongoing success”.

Peter Simon is fondly remembered by his colleagues and life-long friends, Richard Craddock, Albert Carpets/KBAC Flooring and Donald Platt, CEO of FloorworX.

First Impressions that last

“I was a youngster when I met Peter and he made such a lasting impression on me. He was such a fun-loving, remarkably wise and highly regarded person, with a wicked sense of humour,” comments Richard.

Meeting Peter was a highlight of my career and we have been friends and business partners for the past 38 years, working together in various capacities at Bates Warner Flooring and Albert Carpets, which later became KBAC Flooring. It was during these years that I learnt so much from Peter. His drive and motte: “If you cannot do it properly, then don’t do it at all” is still fresh in my memory.

Visionary Flooring Expert

Peter was always one step ahead of our competitors. He had a vision for an upmarket flooring store that would offer exclusive and bespoke flooring to its clients, and this became a reality when Bates Warner Flooring purchased Albert Carpets in the centre of Cape Town. During this time, Peter always stayed abreast of the latest developments and trends in the industry and as such, Albert Carpets soon became the supplier of choice for architects and designers working in the upmarket residential, hospitality and corporate spaces.

Peter was incredibly well connected and this together with his belief that no job was too big or too small resulted in Albert Carpets gaining the respect and trust in all market sectors. Peter was also very forward thinking. During the 90s and 2000s, various people from our company regularly travelled overseas to Domotex in Germany and Neocon in the USA, which always included a visit to the Interface factory in La Grange. This enabled Albert Carpets to offer our discerning clientele totally bespoke options incorporating the latest international trends and designs.

The annual visits from various Tertiary colleges to our showroom where Peter would give enthusiastic talks on the past and present flooring trends always left the students not only entertained but richer in knowledge. This is another example of how Peter was always looking to the future and a legacy that continues to this day.

Revolutionised the South African Flooring Industry

Revolutionary products such as Coir, Sisal, Laminated flooring, Vinyl Plank (Timber look) and even a stainless-steel tile. We represented companies from USA, New Zealand and Europe – offering products for use in the home and corporate environment, we even had a range of woven paper flooring at one time. Peter recognized that having exclusive products was an important offering in our business.

Magnetism that drew people in

Peter was a visionary who brought everything and everyone together. He had an idea of hosting a flooring show/exhibition. His idea became a reality and all our local and international suppliers jumped on board even those from the USA. This was the kind of influence Peter had but more importantly how he was loved and respected by all this who crossed his path.

Peter instilled in us that our clients are the most important people in our business, our staff are second and our suppliers third. If those three aspects are looked after our business will be successful. Peter retired from KBAC after 40 years in the industry, but in 2016 jumped back in the saddle when he was asked to join FloorworX as a consultant.

Peter said that he had retired from KBAC because he recognized that the world of contracting was better managed by younger and more energetic people. However, when approached by Donald Platt to join FloorworX, he couldn’t turn down the opportunity and proudly stated that he had returned to his flooring roots.

Donald Platt CEO of FloorworX
“I approached Peter and upon chatting with him further, realized that we could harness his experience by getting him involved with promoting the EarthWerks agency, as Peter’s relationship with them dated back several years”, says Donald Platt, CEO of FloorworX.

“He was an excellent sounding board and strategic partner, had significant insights into the contracting industry and several key contacts in the design industry. He still had so much to offer with the added bonus that he embraced everything with such energy and enthusiasm”.

Peter thoroughly enjoyed his new role and appreciated being in a position that added value to a company that he held in such high esteem.

“I hope to make a meaningful contribution to an industry that has played such a vital role in my life, while striving for excellence in all that I do to achieve ongoing success”.

Message from Marlene van Rooyen, MD and CEO Media in Africa Group: “From all of our readers, employees and suppliers at Building and Décor, we want to extend our heartfelt condolences to Peter’s family Liz, Adam, Joanna and Daniel. We wish you peace and light and hope that this small tribute to the massive impact that Peter had on the flooring industry will bring you some comfort during this sad time.”

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