It’s always good to have an expert help out with things, and it’s no different with carpet. Russell Sarkin, owner and operator of Walsh Flooring and Window Coverings in Laguna Beach loves working with people to find exactly the right product for their needs.
Q: What is your background in the flooring and window industry?
A: Actually I started in the lighting industry in South Africa. I did that for 32 years and then immigrated to the United States and worked as a national sales manager for another lighting company I had worked with while I lived in South Africa. After my contracted ended with them in 1993, I happened to be driving in Laguna in search for work when a light bulb went off in my head and I told myself not to look for a job, but to buy a job. I pulled in to Walsh Carpets opposite the Montage and walked in where old man Walsh came up to me. He was about 85 years then and I told him I’m looking for a business to buy and asked if his was for sale. His son was also there. A month later in March I owned the shop and have been at it for 25 years.
Q: What is the key to your success?
A: In the beginning, though I didn’t know a whole lot about flooring, I knew a lot about people. I’m a people person and I enjoy interacting getting to know my customers. For a small shop like mine, it’s the key to business and why I am so successful. I make it my business to get to know the people in my business and become friends with them. It’s all about giving the best service possible. I pride myself on never letting a customer down. Though my main business is residential, I currently work with seven hotels and have always been there for them, no matter what. My service is reflected in the large amount of referrals and repeat business I receive.
Q: What is it about flooring people don’t understand?
A: As far as carpet, there are so many various types out there. Too many for most people to know much about, so best to go by the feel of it, is it too soft or too hard. The pile height is the key, meaning the thickness/weight of the carpet. Quality goes from lowest 6 to highest 10. Best question to ask when purchasing carpet is “What is the quality?” If the guy is honest, he will tell you the different qualities and have you feel them. But once the carpet is installed, it’s nearly impossible to know what you got. But it’s not always best to go with the most expensive. It ultimately depends on your budget. Once the amount of carpet needed is worked out in yards, you tell me how much money you can spend and I tell you what carpet is available to you.
Q: What’s the best carpeting for coastal cities?
A: Majority of carpet is nylon fiber. The disadvantage of nylon is it fades and stains. Carpet fades even in indirect lighting. There is a type of carpet that has been around for about 15 years called solution dyed nylon. It isn’t that much more expensive and it doesn’t stain and won’t fade. It’s perfect to use for coastal cities because of the amount of sun we get. Its drawback is a limited range of color.
Q: What about flooring for the coast?
A: Wood flooring fades over time as well, usually 5 to 8 years. Nothing you put on it will stop it from fading, even window shades. Indirect lighting will also fade wood flooring. Porcelain tile is gaining in popularity. Most tiles used are made from ceramic. The disadvantage for ceramics is if it becomes chipped, the clay color underneath is exposed since the colored part is only on the surface. With porcelain, the color is throughout the tile. It might be a little more expensive, but well worth the added price. It’s been very popular. I sell a lot of beautiful tile from Italy and Spain. The variety of colors from European manufacturers is fantastic. Wood-looking porcelain is very popular as is reclaimed wood from 100+ year old barns. Suppliers are difficult to locate, only certain people make them. Railroad sleepers are also reclaimed for wooden floors.
Q: Any new developments in window covering?
A: Most exciting thing is the latest strides in motorization of window shades with a handheld remote or hardwired into a wall switch. With today’s advancement in technology, smartphones can even work the window coverings. Certain cars now have buttons you can push while driving home to work a variety of things at home such as opening up the window coverings so it’s bright and inviting after a long day away.
Owner / Operator
Walsh Flooring & Window Coverings
888 Glenneyre Rd.
Laguna Beach, CA 92651
By Gina Dostler