Floor Systems has been a family business since its founding in 1987. As the second generation of the Veilleux family to helm the business, Rich Veilleux remains committed to his father's vision of excellence in service and product quality.How Rich joined Floor Systems
Rich started working at his father's company when he was in high school. He was the owner's son, but he didn't get treated any differently – he started out sweeping floors and working in the warehouse. Doing those jobs still helps him to this day; Rich is always ready to jump in and help out wherever he's needed in the company.
“I wouldn't expect somebody to do something that I wouldn't do myself. I still go out and jump into the warehouse and move things around and will load up customers if I need to, I'll go out and help people on the sales floor if need be,” he says. “I need to know every single position in order to lead this company.”
Rich's journey to carrying on the family business wasn't without some interruption, though. After high school, he attended the University of Maine where he earned a degree in chemical engineering. While he enjoyed the science, Rich decided that working in a lab wasn't for him; he preferred dealing with people and having a more active day to day routine.
Rather than go right back to working for his father, Rich joined Shaw Floors. This opportunity allowed him to see the industry from the manufacturer's side while gaining experience in sales. It also helped him realize that he truly did enjoy working in the flooring industry.Rich's work at Floor Systems
Now at the head of Floor Systems, Rich's work varies greatly from one day to the next. Much of his focus is on speaking with vendors and getting products for the store to ensure customers have a huge range of styles and designs available to them. Though he's technical by nature, Rich enjoys this side of the business, dealing with people he – and his father – have gotten to know well over the years.
In dealing with manufacturers and vendors, Rich is always thorough. He wants to know every detail so that he personally knows and understands what Floor Systems is carrying so the team can recommend and provide the right products for the right applications. He does this all while securing good prices from manufacturers so that those savings can be passed on to Floor Systems' customers.
“We treat our vendors with respect and they give us respect,” explains Rich.
Though working with vendors is one of his favorite parts of the job, it's far from his only duty. Rich also takes on much of the company's IT duties, deals with spreadsheets and forecasting, is the technical go-to for salespeople and does whatever else he needs to in order to keep Floor Systems running smoothly and customers happy.
As a full-service flooring store, and one of the largest in Maine, there is always more than enough for Rich to do at Floor Systems during the day. Whether he's in the showroom, in the warehouse or in the back office at the computer, he's glad to be there and proud of the business his family has built.
But he also knows it's not all due to his family that the company has been successful – there's been a dedicated team behind the success for decades. That shows in his approach to the staff, who he says are all considered like family and treated as such.Optimistic about challenges
Running a family business isn't always easy, Rich acknowledges. Challenges in today's world like freight rates and price increases have been a recent hurdle, but Rich sees the flip side of that. In the flooring industry, he can help customers find alternative styles or slightly different colors to still meet their needs if they can't get the exact product in the timeframe or price range they need. That flexibility, coupled with Rich and his team's deep knowledge and Floor System's extensive inventory, is valuable for customers.
Overall, though, Rich says, “Being a family business is challenging, it's rewarding, it's always been interesting.”