25 years ago Barry Hatch (then a flooring contractor) saw a need for a national buying company with enough buying power to negotiate improved arrangements with South Africa’s leading carpet and vinyl manufacturers.
Five other independents in the trade joined him, and Carpet Purchases Pty (Ltd) was formed in 1988. There was nothing like it in the market and within a decade the company had grown to 35 members and was re-branded Top Carpets. This was modified to Top Carpets & Floors in 2008 and the company gained 125 members spread throughout South Africa, and is now one of the largest retail flooring groups in Africa.
Brian Hoyle is the director of Top Carpets & Floors and his dedicated, positive approach has been instrumental in its huge growth over the past 15 years.
“All members follow Top Carpets & Floors guidelines in terms of retail shops and branding requirements,” he says. “The core objective, vision and responsibility of the head office is to build the benefits for all our members. We strive to sustain growth in retail for members – without their success there would be no business.”
Shaeden Watson is the chief operating officer with a strong background in the flooring trade. His determination to do the best for members is evident.
Watson has been instrumental in launching the new Top Carpets & Floors interactive website. He says, “We track at least 20 allied companies a week globally. This allows us to identify trends, new ideas, concepts and innovation in the industry.”
“Last year we launched an online website where we sell flooring-related products. There is a big demand for this as it functions as a platform where the consumer can check colour choices, ranges and so on.”
Top Carpets & Floors also provides financial support for its members; an extensive in-house training initiative is in operation at head office and a new facility will open in the Western Cape soon.
Top Carpets has an insurance division based at head office with its own call centre and support team. Here claims are processed for major insurance groups.
“In 2003 we saw a gap in the way the settlement of insurance claims was being handled. We put together a national programme with certain insurance companies and this is now our single biggest portfolio.