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Home | AUSTIN | Spotlight | Spotlight - Julian Sanchez, Castle Flooring LLC

Spotlight - Julian Sanchez, Castle Flooring LLC

image Julian Sanchez, Partner, Castle Flooring LLC, Austin, TX

AUSTIN - Since he was a teenager, Julian Sanchez knew he would own his own business. He put in the work to prepare for it as well, learning the industry from as many angles as he could, listening and observing other people who did their work well. In his 21 years as partner at Castle Flooring LLC, he has used his know-how to help make more than 10,000 customers’ visions come to life.

 

 

 

Share a little about your background.
    I am first generation from Mexico. Even though I was born in Chicago, my parents raised me in Mexico the first 10 years.
    After college, I decided to join the Marines and have the privilege of being a Gulf War veteran. However, it is in civilian life where I met my partner, Stephanie.

What motivated you to launch your own flooring business?
    Naively, I remember at age 13 telling my mother I was going to own a business.
    In preparation I did work at the big box stores just to understand the field and what I was getting into. I became an estimator, a manufacturer’s rep, did flooring sales, all with the intent of starting a business.
    In 1997, three years later, with Stephanie’s support and valuable advice, we started our flooring business. At the time, she was a mortgage underwriter auditing branches, but within two years, she joined me full-time.

Were you in any way nervous about starting your own business?

     No; it was preplanned. One of the things I did was purposeful; I didn’t have much debt, but I got rid of all of it and started a little savings. Then I went and got specialized training through the big box stores and vendors. I don’t remember being nervous at all because I had a defined target, as much as it could be defined.

What attracted you to the flooring industry?

    I have an analytical mind, and when I look at businesses, I always look at how they are structured, what is involved, and how capital-intensive they are. I felt that flooring was one that could be swayed but didn’t require a large amount of capital to get started. I was right in that sense because you could utilize good quality subcontractors or employees but you have the option of both.
     We didn’t necessarily have to inventory things, so that was a big head start. We did have
to eventually get a physical location to add value, but it wasn’t necessary. In fact, the first few years, I operated the business out of my garage. I would take flooring samples to my customers. It came to the point where I couldn’t carry enough samples and it wasn’t efficient, so eventually we moved into our original location on South Lamar.

What lessons have stuck with you in your 21 years of business?

    There are a lot of flooring stores out there. What I think sets us apart is our insistence on delivering value. Value can start from the point of a customer walking into a clean environment. Is the company organized? Does it have specialized knowledge? Do they follow through? When I look at value, I look at it as a point system. How many points can I acquire before I even make the sale or even after the sale? The value is the full enchilada, the whole experience. We want to know the clients’ names, and we want to offer them water, anything that would make a customer’s experience more pleasant, and memorable for the client.
    Are we perfect? No, but we’re very mindful that clients can go somewhere else to shop and perhaps have a better experience. We just want it be our experience because clients are willing to come into our environment. We want to give them our best. It comes back to simplicity; how would I want to be treated if the shoe was on the other foot?

Who has inspired you?
    While I strive to learn from all experiences and people, Brad, who has been an installer for 35 years, was kind enough to share his wisdom. He is a perfectionist at what he does and that is one main reason why he would always have work. I would go out and work with him just so I could understand what his thinking process was and the tricks to what he was doing. I wanted to be better at what I was doing on the selling side. I would consider Brad a mentor from the installation aspect but also just as a kind human being because he would not put limitations on how much he would give. If the job called for two days and it took him four days, he wouldn’t charge an extra two days. He always wanted to deliver his best.

What do you love about your work?
    We have an immediate impact on a client’s space, an instant gratification. Within a short period of time, we transform a space that gives a person joy. We do believe a person’s environment contributes to happiness in life, and we’re a part of that. We love the design aspect and the creativity aspects, too. Along the way, we’ve managed to help more than 10,000 clients.

How do you connect with your employees?

    We always lead by example. If it comes to the point where I need to get involved in installation, I will do so and that is an important aspect to what I do. It allows me to transfer how much I value their service, because they realize there’s an owner who is willing to get down on his knees. I don’t think that I’m above them, and while they understand that I’m an owner, I still transfer our values and commitment in that small manner. That’s something I learned from the Marines: We are a big family, and I’ve got your back and you’ve got mine.

Share a bit about your family.
    We’re very family-oriented; our siblings live close in proximity and enjoy gatherings with cooking and card games.
    Stephanie does fuse glass; she’s an artist and that’s her outlet for more creativity.
    My son, Ian, who is 14, has grown up with the flooring business, and he understands the nuts and bolts of it. He wouldn’t hesitate to shake your hand with a firm grip and ask you if you would like something to drink. He’s not shy at all.

What interests do you have outside of work?
    I like architectural photography, reading and drawing. Like most people, we like to travel. We always pick a place where we get inspired. We do close the business when we leave for vacation, but our door sign reads, “Closed … Going to find more inspiration.” Our last vacation was two months ago to Santa Fe, and then prior to that, it was Maui.

What are your plans for the future of the business?

    We often talk to Ian about whether he would like to continue the business. For now, he would like to focus on his guitar and schooling. He has mentioned engineering as one of his options.
    At the very least, we will transfer the business to, hopefully, another couple that has an ambition to offer the same or greater value to our clients. It is a worthy career that has been both financially but personally rewarding. We don’t want that to go to waste.
    Castle Flooring LLC in Austin offers carpet, tile and wood flooring products and installation. –mjm


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Author Info

Melissa Jones-Meyer dfweditor@constructionnews.net