This week's business spotlight is on Prestige Hardwood Flooring

Kevin Holamon kevin.holamon@brownwoodbulletin.com
Ed and Johnnie Golden in their home office of Prestige Hardwood Flooring, the business they have owned and operated for 27 years.

Owning your own successful business doesn't necessarily require a fancy office or large investments in inventory. There are opportunities out there that just require an investment of time in learning a valuable skill and a dedication to customer satisfaction that gets people talking.

Ed Golden, of Prestige Hardwood Flooring, has been in the business for 27 years and doesn't appear to have any intention of quitting any time soon. He grinned, though, as he said, "It started by accident."

Hardwood floors weren't Golden's first career choice, either. In fact, he said this is his third or fourth career. He had completed a four year stint with the Air Force, beginning in 1956, then worked as an accountant for the University of Texas at Austin. From there, Golden worked for a consumer loan company, then followed his boss to the new Citizens National Bank of Austin, where he served as assistant vice-president. 

"That was back when banking was a hobby," Golden remarked, "They didn't pay very well."

After a short time with Blue Cross / Blue Shield, a job he said he didn't particularly care for, Golden sold John Deere construction equipment in the Rio Grande Valley, before he returned to his hometown of San Saba.

Soon after, the Golden's purchased an existing janitorial supply company in Brownwood. He was demonstrating a premium hardwood floor finishing product that he sold, to the administration at Coleman ISD for their gymnasium floor. While there, they asked if he knew who could repair a few termite damaged boards. Golden said he had just returned from a seminar on such repairs, in Missouri, so he completed the job himself. 

"I think I charged $27.50," he said.

Word began to spread and he soon received a call from the school at Ballinger. That $27.50 job led Golden to move completely away from janitorial supplies and into the hardwood flooring business, at first chiefly selling and installing gymnasium floors. Golden said he sold his largest job about five or six years ago, for just over one-quarter of a million dollars. That contract was at the Fluor Inc. world headquarters in Las Colinas, for 16,000 square feet of three inch mesquite squares. 

Golden had a storefront for his hardwood flooring business for only about a year, in the 1990s.

"We didn't have enough walk-in traffic, so my pickup became my office," he said, "My pickup is two years old and has over 100,000 miles."

He continues to operate mainly from the cab of his pickup and a small home office. He warehouses some commonly used materials, but mostly orders to the customers' specifications, with some materials custom manufactured. 

"I work with a company that can pretty much match any old flooring for restoration," Golden said.

Golden generally runs two crews, with six employees, three of whom have been with him for 15 years. They have completed jobs as far east as Vicksburg, Miss. and west to Clovis, N.M. Locally, his largest jobs have been Landmark Life Insurance Co., the Brownwood Country Club, and The Depot's Harvey House. He has worked on the floors for Brownwood ISD since the 1980s and constructed and maintained the gymnasium for the Abilene Christian Univ. Wildcats for about 10 years. Soon, Golden's crews will install a new hardwood floor on the stage of the Lyric Theater, a job he has donated to the restoration project.

Prestige Hardwood Flooring is a member of the Brownwood Area Chamber of Commerce and the Home Builders' Association based in San Angelo. In 2011, the quality of his company's work was recognized by Southern Living magazine, when they chose him to install the floors of their Idea House, at Horseshoe Bay, on Lake LBJ.

In 1992, Golden was selected by the National Wood Flooring Assoc. to a steering committee to establish an installer certification program, which now comprises two three-week schools for installation and refinishing.

For more information on Prestige Hardwood Flooring, visit their website at www.hardwoodfloorsbyprestige.com, email them at prestigehardwood2003@yahoo.com, or call (325)646-5505.