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20 Years of Laws Flooring
by Audrey Hanes, photography by Kayla Broadway

For the past 20 years, Laws Flooring has passionately served Jonesboro with its expansive floor covering showroom and installation services. Now that the local family-owned business has added Benjamin Moore paints to its carpet, hardwood, tile, stone, laminate, vinyl and area rug offerings, owners James and Michelle Laws hope to fulfill even more of their loyal customers’ home design needs.

James has been in the flooring business since 1992, beginning with a carpet cleaning business that he ran for 25 years. He met Michelle on a blind date while she was a student at Arkansas State University; she worked for him part-time as the carpet cleaning business continued to grow.

“I told James it would be awesome to open a business like the old House and Gardens store here in town,” said Michelle. “He heard ‘open a business,’ so he rented a building and told me we were opening a flooring store.”

James and Michelle introduced Laws Flooring in 1998 before opening a storefront in Bono in 1999, the same year they got married. After quickly outgrowing that location, the store moved to Jonesboro and opened a showroom and warehouse on Washington Avenue, where it remained for 12 years before moving the showroom to its current location on Browns Lane Access Road in 2014.

“James’ mom sold floor covering for Sears for almost 30 years; she helped train me on estimating flooring,” said Michelle. “… It was a really hard start. When we opened our flooring center, we were opening a carpet store with the hopes of bringing a fresh and new approach to selecting flooring. We were using our experience from the carpet cleaning company to serve our customers. Being a new store that had no previous relationships with the suppliers and manufacturers of our area, many vendors were reluctant to partner with us. They didn’t know us. We had to build trust and respect with both our new customers and vendors.

“During our 20 years in business, we have had many pitfalls, but every time, we learn from it and jump back in.”

Michelle said they entered the flooring industry at a time of significant change. Carpet stores, hardwood stores and ceramic tile stores now had to offer more than one category of flooring, so they soon realized they would have to offer all types of emerging flooring to their customers. Over the years, the one-stop showroom has expanded its offerings to include ceramic tile, hardwoods, laminate flooring, vinyl planks, specialty carpets, area rugs, custom rugs, wall tile, natural stone, furniture, home décor, art and waterproof flooring, all in addition to design and installation services.

In 2006, Laws Flooring joined the Abbey Carpet & Floor franchise, a partnership that added a more diverse product offering and buying power to better serve the business’ customers. It also provided some products that had a 60 day “walk on it” warranty to ease customers’ stress when selecting floor covering.

Most recently, in March of 2017, Law Flooring became Jonesboro’s exclusive Benjamin Moore paint vendor. The business now carries a wide selection from the brand, including industrial/commercial, residential, oil-based, interior and exterior paints, as well as custom stains.

“Benjamin Moore has a national reputation for quality and beautiful color,” said Michelle. “The reason we grabbed onto it was because a friend who owns flooring and paint stores in Missouri encouraged us to look into it. It was a good marriage to the business, because we consult on color all the time on the flooring side. The flooring side and paint side were starting to work with one another. We had an opportunity, and we grabbed onto that.”

As for what James enjoys most about owning the longtime flooring center, he says it’s his passion for educating customers about their flooring choices and the quality products the store offers.

“I am big about education,” said James. “I want our customers to feel confident in what they’re buying. The little details can make a difference. I break things down to a variety of levels. I’m a technical guy.

“… My favorite part about my job is doing the project using products designed for longevity. I don’t want the product to fail. I see beautiful tile showers that have to be torn out because they cut out the crucial step of waterproofing either because of budget restrain or lack of knowledge of its purpose. It’s important to us to build trust in our community and that our customers trust us to help them dream, design and complete their project.”

James and Michelle attribute Laws Flooring’s longevity to their supportive family, dedicated staff, excellent installation crews and the loyalty of the Jonesboro community.

“We have four kids; our oldest is an A-State student and our youngest is a first grader, so they’re spread out,” said Michelle. “They offered us much grace and patience having parents who are business owners. Finding that balance has been and still is a learning experience. And I can’t say enough about the wonderful people we work with. We have been blessed for many years with people who have felt like more than employees – that they were partners with us; they put time and energy and effort into what they do, and we love them for that. Our families have supported us when we needed a hand and jumped right in to help us.

“Jonesboro is amazingly awesome when it comes to supporting local businesses. It’s like a family network. There is a lot of word of mouth, and the locally owned businesses all really seem to support each other. … It’s different. It’s not like everywhere else. And, this year, we’ve been excited to share our success with our local Habitat for Humanity through the Build Up for Phillip project that will construct nine houses and a park in the coming years.”

As they celebrate 20 years of business, James and Michelle say they look forward to continuing to grow and improve Laws Flooring in the next 20 years. They plan to move their warehouse to the current location and expand their paint store in the near future. With the development of the Vogue Cleaning products and receiving the final trademark registrations of the Vogue brand, Laws is also working on setting up opportunities for distribution and shipments nationwide for Vogue Cleaning products and cleaning machines.

“We are not where we are without the grace of God,” said Michelle. “There have been many roller coasters over the past 20 years where we should have failed or quit, but here we are. We have had everything that tells you to quit, fail, run and stop happen to us, but this business really isn’t about us. It’s a tool. I don’t know where it will take us, it’s up to God. You can’t just rely on yourself or you won’t get very far. We just try to do the best with what we’ve been given.”

For more information about Laws Flooring & Rugs and Benjamin Moore Paint, located at 1530 Browns Lane Access Road, call (870) 932-5297 or find it on Facebook.