Owners of CarpetPlus ColorTile Missoula take their business from garage to showroom
“We had a detached garage for a showroom and a separate shop for storing product.”
Janelle Jacobson, wife to Bob Jacobson, is referring to the birthplace of CarpetsPlus ColorTile Missoula, formerly known as Carpet Brokers. However unglamorous that space may have been, the Jacobsons weren’t discouraged by the humble foundation of their American Dream, which was to sell carpet from their home.
Before the garage upgraded and expanded to what it is today—a large structure in the heart of our industrial area between Reserve and Broadway streets—Bob was one of the best-in-the-business when it came to auto body repair. Though, in 1998, he slammed the last hood, closing that chapter of his career, and with the everlasting support of Janelle, Bob dived into this grand venture that has lasted, and flourished, for 20 years in the Missoula community.
“Ninety percent of the customers who walk through our door are referred by family, friends, or builders,” said Bob.
“First, we find out the customer’s home situation. Do they have seven kids? A baby in the house? Does the husband bring the horse into the kitchen?” Bob joked. “These factors need to be explored and then the customers can be better directed to what works best for them.”
“Yes,” Janelle chimed in, “service is our main deal. We get our customers the look they want with the price they can afford.” And, sometimes, this might mean discouraging a customer from a particular purchase.
“There are certain products we will thumbs down on,” said Bob. “In our area, with our humidity swings, dry air, temperature swings, wood won’t perform with satisfactory results. And many of our distributors won’t carry particular products anymore. We recognize that because that is part of our product knowledge and recognizing our customers’ needs.”
Bob and Janelle spent four years building their customer base and the business’s reputation from home. They are now in their 16th year in the new building, which is hardly new at all—other than the fact that it’s always changing. As of late, the updated showroom now offers a rotating blend of color choices and materials.
“It is separated in segments—tile, hardwood, and carpet,” said Janelle. “This is so people can see what it can actually look like in their home.” And, even though Bob is no interior designer, Janelle proudly beamed, “The designers who work with us are very impressed and look to Bob to find out his favorite styles.”
Today, CarpetsPlus ColorTile Missoula is a team of Bob, Janelle, Sales Managers Brad Coty and Christopher Morris, and administrative assistant, Lacey Sanders. It’s been quite a few turns around the sun since the days of being in a detached garage but Bob and Janelle are still as humble as at the start.
Throughout the years, Bob has found that his product knowledge, in the consistently evolving flooring industry, has greatly influenced how he approaches sales.
The average homeowner is looking for the balance between performance and cost. If it means choosing a luxury vinyl plank over hardwood or being talked out of white carpeting, Bob and Janelle have struck that sweet spot of service and salesmanship. Their energy and passion for this business is fueled by the support they’ve received over the years as they worked their way out of their garage and into the thread of this community.
After all, sometimes the best idea starts at home.