Sunday, April 18th, 2021

Shopper Client Stories


Latest Advance in Flooring Drives Non-Stop Demand

by Cristi Sanchez

Terry Bull and George Saccal (back row) with Amy and Phillip Woolard

Terry Bull and George Saccal (back row) with Amy and Phillip Woolard

For small family-owned businesses, staying afloat during a pandemic can be challenging, especially for flooring businesses that rely on entering peoples’ homes. Not true for Floors Unlimited on Cedar Road in Great Bridge, however.  Owned and operated by Phil Woolard, Floors Unlimited didn’t just survive the initial shutdowns in the spring; they came back stronger than ever in the late summer.

“We saw a slow-down in late April, May, and July, although we still had work,” Phil says. “But starting in August and September, we began to see more and more customers coming in. Then in October, the doors busted open! We’ve had more work scheduled right now than at any time I can remember. Usually, January is a slow month, but not this year.”

Phil has adopted strict safety policies in his store and in customers’ homes when new flooring is installed. “We’ve adjusted as many have,” Phil explains. “We wear masks, keep our distance, and we keep our store clean and disinfected. We want to make sure we provide the safest conditions for our customers because we want them to feel comfortable and confident about us being in their homes.”  

The pandemic has produced many changes in the way business is conducted, but Phil notes that the most significant changes he has observed over the last five years are the shifts in flooring trends and the products that people now choose for their homes. In the ‘80s and ‘90s, carpeting was the number one flooring of choice; however, all of that changed 15 to 20 years ago with an increased understanding of the things that cause allergy flareups. Revealed as a culprit to those who suffer allergies, carpet began to be ripped from homes and replaced with hardwood. Five years ago, however, a fresh new option arrived on the scene to steal hardwood flooring’s thunder—waterproof luxury vinyl plank.

“This flooring is fantastic, and it’s so versatile!” Phil enthuses. It’s what they call a ‘floating floor’ and can be installed over almost anything, including concrete, plywood, and particleboard. The planks have a realistic hardwood look—like hardwood or laminate, but are made of high-quality waterproof vinyl. Colors range from coastal gray to weathered wood, dark ebony, to light maple.”
Vinyl planks are extremely popular in current renovations: it is durable, waterproof, and looks like hardwood flooring but without hardwood’s problems and required maintenance. Because it’s waterproof, it can be installed in kitchens and bathrooms, which helps create a feeling of “good flow” and continuity in homes with open floor plans. The trend is so popular that it has caused a significant shift in the Floors Unlimited showroom.

“Sheet vinyl has all but disappeared,” Phil points out. “We only have two sheet vinyl displays in our showroom now where we used to have six. On the flip-side, we now have a full complement of the luxury vinyl plank displays. We offer brand name, high-quality floors from Mannington, Core Tech, and Palmetto Road.  I don’t purchase unbranded flooring because it can’t be guaranteed. We stand behind our products and our work, so I need to know who I’m buying from. I only work with companies that have some sort of a US presence to it that I feel confident with.”

Five years ago...a fresh new option
arrived on the scene to steal
hardwood flooring’s thunder -
waterproof luxury vinyl plank!

Phil Woolard of Floors Unlimited

Phil Woolard of Floors Unlimited

The best flooring products in the world won’t make a difference without high-quality workmanship and installation expertise. Phil’s mission is to offer that in spades. His shop oversees all installations, with experienced professionals providing expert advice on which products best suit a customer’s home, lifestyle, and needs.

“When customers come to me, they’re looking for someone who can handle the entire project for them,” Phil explains. “We offer outstanding products, expert installations, and warranties all in one place. That’s not always available at big box stores, and I feel it’s what sets us apart.”

What also sets Phil’s business apart is his installation crew’s experience, trustworthiness, and expertise. “I don’t have fly-by-night installers,” Phil states proudly. “We have experienced installers that we have used for years, people I trust. If I didn’t have these guys, I might as well close. They’re excellent and do a great job. They study a home’s floors to make sure all the transitions are right; they’re always respectful and try to make every job go as smoothly as possible. When I follow up with customers, I always feel confident that I’ll hear that they’re happy with the job and the crew. My dad and uncle, who started this business in 1972, always knew the importance of having an outstanding crew, and it’s a tradition I continue.”

For nearly half a century, Floors Unlimited has been a fixture in the Great Bridge community providing Chesapeake and surrounding areas with quality flooring and service. To what does Phil credit the business’s longevity and success?  He believes it is his commitment to his father’s and uncle’s guiding principle: always give your best to others.

“I’m very conscientious about this business,” Phil states candidly. “I’ve taken it from my dad and my uncle, two hometown boys, and want to honor them in how I run it. They felt very strongly about providing quality workmanship with their crews and quality products. I followed in their footsteps and worked very hard to continue their legacy. I strive to maintain a good reputation. I have a strong conscience about how I do a job and how my customers feel about me and my business. I want to know that if I see customers out in public, they’ll be happy to see me. I want to continue living in this community, feeling good about what I do: playing a role in making peoples’ homes nicer for them. At the end of the day, that’s all I want—to make people happy in their homes. My goal is to walk away knowing I did a good job.”

Floors Unlimited

1020 Cedar Road
Chesapeake, VA 23322