Skaff: A Family Business, Then & Now

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At Skaff Furniture Carpet One, it’s all about the customer experience and giving back to the community, according to CEO/President, Dick Skaff. The business has been serving customers in the Greater Flint Area for 112 years.

“It all started in 1911 when my grandfather, George Skaff, came to the U.S. from Lebanon at 14 years old,” Skaff shares. “He sold oriental rugs from a cart in Downtown Flint.”

Since then, the business has continued to evolve, expand and grow. In the 1950s, a storefront was built in Downtown Flint at the corner of Harrison and Third Streets. “Our presence grew as the store on Harrison Street expanded with larger showrooms,” adds Skaff. “Soon our company was a leader in carpet and later furniture, continually evolving to meet the needs of our customers.” Each generation of Skaff that followed carried forward the tradition of providing great value and quality products, and giving every customer the best possible service. Woody Skaff and his two brothers, Don and Jack, were the second generation to run the business. The third generation of the Skaff family, George, Tom, Dick and Mike took the reins from there. “Now, the fourth generation is involved,” says Skaff with a smile. His son Jeff is now a co-owner and vice president.

Skaff Furniture Carpet one has been led by 4 generations of the skaff family. Pictured are: (L-r) Jeff Skaff, Dick Skaff, and Mike Skaff.

The business moved to its current Mundy Township location in 1980 and in 1987, joined the national buying organization, Carpet One – a nationwide network of 1,200 flooring dealers. In 2010, Skaff joined Brand Source, a buying group that works with independent furniture and appliance retailers to help them remain competitive in today’s challenging business environment.

Recently, Skaff Furniture Carpet One constructed a new, nearly 30,000-square-foot warehouse across the parking lot from their current store. For the last 40 years, they rented a warehouse in Burton. “My son got the ball rolling to build one. He asked me, ‘Why pay rent when we can build our own?’” The new facility will allow them to have more stock available. “Having the warehouse located here is better for us and for our customers,” Skaff reports. “We can deliver orders right away.” An official ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new warehouse will take place on January 18 and is open to the public.

The big chair is a customer favorite and icon. It has been present in the store since 1985.

Skaff’s 70,000-square-foot showroom is unique, according to the CEO, as it has a designated area to showcase all of the products – carpet, furniture, mattresses, clearance items and more. “The concept of offering home furnishings and flooring as a one-stop-shop is attractive to customers, and is one of the ways we have adapted our business,” he adds. “We have something here for everybody!”

Skaff’s vast and impressive inventory includes a variety of flooring, such as carpet, hardwood, tile, laminates and high-end remnants. Belonging to the Carpet One network allows for lower prices and the grandiose furniture selection makes it easy to find your style and personalize your living space. Supported brands include Smith Brothers of Berne, Flexsteel, Bassett, Benchcraft and more. In addition, Skaff carries Serta and TempurPedic mattresses and Amish-made furniture crafted by veteran Ohio woodworking company, Mavin. “The popularity of Amish furniture has really exploded in the last ten years,” adds Skaff. “People like it built the old-fashioned way.”

In addition to running a successful business and providing great customer service, community involvement is another Skaff family tradition. “We help support over 20 charity organizations,” Skaff shares. “Giving back is very important to us and it is who we are.” In its eleventh year, the company’s biggest fundraising campaign is Save & Share, when a portion of the sales from the Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday after Thanksgiving are donated to Whaley Children’s Center, Communities First, the Food Bank of Eastern Michigan and Carriage Town Ministries. “In the last eleven years, we have given $200,000 to these organizations,” he adds. The company also volunteers at the Food Bank and donates funds to Coats for Kids, YWCA Safehouse, The Empty Pink Chair and Favorite Teacher Giveaway.

 

“We are going to be here for a long time to carry on my grandfather’s legacy, as a local, family-owned business that supports the community.”

Dick Skaff

 

How has Skaff Furniture Carpet One continued to be successful for 112 years? “One reason is the people who work here,” states the owner. Of the 37 Skaff employees, some have been there 35-40 years. “We do our best to take good care of our employees,” he shares, while adding that Skaff customers are the biggest reason the company remains successful. “We take care of them. It is very rewarding when they come back and tell us how beautiful their home is. We are thankful for our customers and our staff.”

As this Flint mainstay celebrates yet another anniversary in their second century of success, what does the future look like for Skaff Furniture Carpet One? “We made a commitment and will follow the guiding principles that have led to success in years past,” the CEO concludes. “We are going to be here for a long time to carry on the legacy my grandfather left behind, as a local, family-owned business that supports the community. We are so happy that the fourth generation is here to take the baton and move forward!”

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