Not a day goes by when Lowell Matthys of The Floor to Ceiling Store interior design showroom doesn't learn something.
"This business changes fast," he said.
Lowell's father, Art, concurs, adding that the everchanging nature of home interior design makes work fun.
Photo by Karin Elton
Art and Lowell Matthys are celebrating 40 years of business at The Floor to Ceiling Store in Marshall this month. They are standing behind a Cambria stone counter which has a granite-type look, Lowell Matthys said.
"When you enjoy something you do, it makes the time go by fast," he said.
The store is celebrating 40 years this month.
Art Matthys, who hails from Stanley Township and graduated from Cottonwood High School, bought the business Aug. 1, 1971, when it was a Plywood Minnesota franchise headed by Rudy Boschwitz.
"I wanted to own my own business," Art Matthys said.
Art's wife, Donna, worked the books in the early days.
"Then she worked part time when we had kids," Art Matthys said. "When the kids were grown she went back to full time and then when the grandchildren started to arrive she went back home."
Lowell Matthys was 5 when his parents bought the business and spent a lot of time in the store.
"If you wanted to see Dad or be around him, you had to come to the store," Lowell Matthys said.
"When you work six days a week, that's the way it is," Art said.
When Lowell Matthys was in high school, he worked half days at the store. After graduating, he attended Alexandria Tech and received a degree in marketing and design. He then resumed work at Floor To Ceiling.
Art is retired from the business, but works in the summer months.
"It's nice having someone around here with a lot of experience," Lowell Matthys said of dad, adding, "he wouldn't be comfortable if he wasn't working."
Art and Lowell said the nature of the business has changed since the 1970s. Before, you would pick out the paneling, carpet and floor tile right in the store, Art Matthys said. "We would tie paneling on top of cars," he said.
"Now 75 percent to 90 percent is special orders," Lowell Matthys said. "Customers pick out their own colors. We do feature some in-store items."
Art Matthys remembers the days when everything was green and gold.
"It's coming back," he said of the colors.
The staff is constantly undergoing training to keep up with the changes, the two said.
"We go to conventions, seminars, training schools," Art Matthys said.
"We attend shows in Las Vegas and Chicago," Lowell Matthys said. "We go on mill tours to Dalton, Ga., and Quebec City, Quebec. I enjoy seeing how things are made."
Art Matthys said customers are more aware of what there is to offer as far as designing their kitchens and bathrooms.
"They know what style and colors they want," he said. "They look at the Internet and watch the Home & Garden channel on TV. Our staff designers help them make the selection."
Lowell Matthys said with the poor housing market, people are choosing to remodel more often instead of buying new houses.
"They are spending money on remodeling the kitchen or bathroom, putting in new floor coverings, versus trying to build a new home," he said.
An open house celebrating the anniversary is from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. today at 1107 W. Main St.