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January 2012: Calandrino, Mishkin, Pumphrey inducted into Industry Hall of Fame

Volume 26/Number 16; Dec. 17/24, 2012

After a one-year drought without an inductee, the World Floor Covering Association (WFCA) Flooring Industry Hall of Fame has opened its doors to three individuals in 2012: Sonna Calandrino, Sandy Mishkin and Paul Pumphrey.

Each inductee has played a significant role in retailing as teachers, merchandisers and buyers.

The formal induction will take place May 3 in conjunction with WFCA’s annual meeting in Boca Raton, Fla.

Calandrino, who passed away in 2010, was a successful flooring retailer, consultant, journalist, speaker and visionary in her 30-year career. Her retail business grew to 10 stores in upstate New York and provided her with the background and experience to share her ups and downs with retailers around the country. Calandrino founded Peachtree Communications, which specialized in helping retailers enhance their sales and merchandising.

She played an integral role in the development of Mohawk’s Floorscapes retail buying group during her 10-year tenure as a consultant to the company. Her journalistic efforts not only included regular columns, including one in FCNews, but educational books and newsletters such as  “High Margin Selling,” “High Profit Merchandising,” “55 Ways To Jump Start Your Contract Business,” “Secrets to Profiting from Square Foot Pricing” and more.  Her magazine, Fabulous Floors, remains a pioneering effort to teach consumers how to transform their homes with beautiful flooring.

Calandrino also gave back, as she donated a significant amount of her profits to the Floor Covering Industry Foundation (FCIF) and other charities.

Mishkin began his career in flooring as a buyer for E.J. Korvette in 1962.  In 1970, he joined Trend Mills as vice president of merchandising, and in 1980 became vice president of marketing for Horizon Mills.

In 1984, Mishkin, along with colleagues Howard Brodsky and Alan Greenberg, founded Carpet Co-op of America (Carpet One), now CCA Global Partners, of which he is currently president.

Many manufacturers initially refused to sell product to Carpet One. Although the first few months were turbulent, Mishkin eventually convinced the mills that selling to Carpet One would mean larger sales and future expansion.

In less than 30 years, CCA has grown to 14 divisions with more than 3,200 retail locations. A key component of this success is the group’s buying power, an effort led by Mishkin. Among his accomplishments are forging agreements giving Carpet One the exclusive worldwide rights to the Bigelow brand and creating the revolutionary Lees for Living line of carpet. He was also involved in developing the powerful SelectAFloor merchandising system for Carpet One, among other innovations.

In 2010, Mishkin was presented with a Lifetime Achievement award from FCNews.

Rarely does a single, independent retailer spend 65 years of his career with the same company in a relatively small geographic area and rise to prominence on the national stage, but Pumphrey has done exactly that.

He began his career at the age of 10 helping at his parents’ On-Location Rug Cleaning Co. In 1941, they purchased the Cleaver Carpet Cleaning Co. in Colorado Springs, Colo., and Pumphrey became a cleaning technician and repairman.

Duty called and from 1943 to 1945 he served in the U.S. Merchant Marines. After the war, Pumphrey and his brother founded Cleaver Carpet Cleaning and Mothproofing Co. in Pueblo, Col. In 1953, the name was changed to Cleaver Carpet Center to reflect their new emphasis on retail floor covering. By 1956, Cleaver Carpet Center had become the dominant carpet outlet in southern Colorado.

Pumphrey has always taken great interest in learning his craft and spent significant time touring mills in Georgia and taking classes, everything from installation to sales. In 1961 he attended the First Annual Western Floor Covering Association Educational Conference and Convention and shortly thereafter became one of the organization’s first members.

Pumphrey enrolled in the American Carpet Institute’s first Graduate Course in Carpet Retailing at Indiana University in 1963. In 1967, he became one of the charter board members of the National Association of Floor Covering Installers and also was elected to the board of the Western Floor Covering Association. In 1972, he became president of that organization.

In June 1973, Pumphrey was invited to attend a meeting sponsored by the National Home Furnishings Association (NHFA) to decide on forming a flooring division. In 1974 the  was born, and Pumphrey was elected vice president; in 1977 he was elected president. Pumphrey is the only individual to have served as president of both the Western Floor Covering Association and the Retail Floorcovering Institute (later American Floorcovering Association), the predecessors of the World Floor Covering Association.

In 1985, Pumphrey became the sole owner of Cleaver Carpet Center and has operated the company since. In 2001, he become a charter WFCA Certified Flooring Executive (CFE). He remains active in the WFCA as a past chairman serving on the Past Chairmen’s Council.