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Wider aisles? No, stylish tiles

Carlsons’Grocery floor has contemporary feel

News editor

Shoppers at Carlsons’ Grocery have noticed, and so, too, has owner Greg Carlson: The store appears to have gotten larger without growing an inch.

“I feel like it looks a lot larger in the aisles,” Carlson said.

It’s a pleasant side effect of dark wood-grained flooring going down over the old white tiles, County Seat Decorating Center owner Jeannie Wildin said. Her crew has been working nights to install the upgrade.

Wildin said both color and shape play into the illusion of increased space.

“Darker colors can make a room seem larger,” she said. “With regular tiles, those are one-foot squares; you have a seam every foot, and that makes it look narrower. The bigger the product, the larger the space looks.”

While the project won’t be finished until July 12 because of backordered stock, Wildin said shoppers may notice a change in sound, too.

“I think it’s changed the feel of walking through that store,” she said. “It’s a softer walk, and it sounds better in there. Sound doesn’t carry as much.”

Although it looks like rough-milled vintage walnut, the flooring is “luxury vinyl plank,” Wildin said. While the old floor required constant stripping, waxing, buffing, and mopping, she said the new product needs only to be swept and mopped.

“Mitch and I spent a lot of money on upkeep of those tile floors,” Carlson said. “I can hopefully pay for this in two or three years for what it took in upkeep and maintenance.”

Carlson said he got the idea for the change by visiting other grocery stores. A store in the Bradley Fair shopping center in Wichita had a product much like what Carlsons’ now has.

The Carlson brothers checked out samples while attending food shows in Omaha, and could have purchased the product through a grocery supplier there, but they had other plans.

“We brought those samples back to the County Seat to see if they could match them,” Carlson said.

The brand was one Wildin carried, and County Seat has installed the product in several area houses, including Mitch Carlson’s house.

Wildin said she negotiated with her Wichita-based distributor to get a price break in line with what the Omaha show vendor could do.

“They told me it’s pretty much at their cost,” Carlson said.

Showing how local businesses can work together is something Wildin feels good about.

“I think it all starts with businesses supporting each other,” she said. “Being part of the business community for the last 37 years, if you can’t depend on your fellow business people to support your business, how can you expect other customers to support you?”

Last modified July 1, 2015

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