Michael Sexton says he always enjoyed his job as an art teacher at Boyd County Middle School, although he could not resist the call of the family business.
“I truly enjoyed working with the kids and teaching art and design. I just thought more and more about doing it instead of just teaching it,” he said, explaining his recent decision to join the family business and work side by side with his mom and dad at Quality Floor Covering and Decorating Center in Ashland. “I didn’t leave for any bad reason. I felt like it was my time to try something.”
His father, Mike Sexton, who founded the business with former partner Columbus Hobbs in the early 1970s, said his son’s decision was welcomed within the family.
“I said, ‘Thank you, Lord.’” he said, explaining he had been thinking about selling the family business and building at 801 Winchester Ave.
“I’m not saying I want to retire, but I do want to slow down a little,” said the senior Sexton, 67, who added his wife, Becky, is also ready to embrace a life of their own, including more time at their condo in Florida.
“She’s wanting to do a little less, too,” he said with a smile.
Sexton said the business was initially located on 29th Street and moved to Winchester Avenue a few years later. Sexton said he decided to buy the building at almost the perfect time.
“I bought the building in 1985, two years before they built the mall. So, that was good timing,” he said, noting he would have certainly been asked to pay more after construction of the nearby Ashland Town Center.
The floor covering business was not his first choice of professions, Sexton said, explaining he also spent several years as “Mr. Sexton,” coaching basketball and teaching kids at Boyd County High School about ways to succeed in business. Oddly, he said he was working two to three jobs and barely making ends meet, forcing him to think about ways to apply the lessons he was trying to pass along to others.
The business has changed considerably since the 70s, he said, acknowledging the small business has relied upon customer service and quality products to earn repeat business from customers who also recommend the place to their family and friends. From the early days offering only floor coverings, Sexton said the company expanded (largely due to his wife’s influence) to include things such as wallpaper, countertops, window treatments and design work. With his son’s artistic skills added to their toolbox, Sexton said he is confident in the company’s future.
“He’s that good. He’s going to be able to take this to a level beyond what I could,” he said, later commenting about his son’s impressive ability to sketch out designs on location and while the customer explains their goals.
“I just want to work alongside dad as long as I can and learn as much as I can,” his son later added.
Quality Floor Covering and Decorating Center is open from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, and from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday. For more information, call (606) 325-3355.
TIM PRESTON can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.