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Flooring for a cause

image L-R: Gary Sharpe, Tommy Vu and Charlie Adams run Allstate Commercial Flooring.

HOUSTON - Behind quick and quality service, Gary Sharpe and Tommy Vu have been giving back to the community and building a successful business.







    Sharpe and Vu started Allstate Commercial Flooring in 2008 after years in the industry.
    “Right when we started, in 2008, we had an economic downturn That put some pressure on us but we have steadily gained market share over the last 10 years,” Sharpe said. “We had some ups and downs but we’ve become a quite a force in the flooring industry here in Houston.
    “Both of us had extensive back-grounds in commercial floorings prior to starting the company. I was an estimator and a sales person. Tommy is an installer. We wanted to stay in the niche that we already had experience in.”
    Charlie Adams joined the company three years ago and is the president of the company.
    “Charlie brought a capital-infused investment and handled things such as  insurance and contract negotiations,” Sharpe said. “Tommy and I still get and install the work.
    “We have built the Allstate Commercial Flooring core beliefs around Christian principles,” Sharpe said. “That includes giving back to the community. As principles in the company we give as a company and as individuals to a multitude of charities. Youth Reach Houston, Little Footprints Adoption Agency, and Houston Welcomes Refu-gees are a few of the community projects we support. We also helped build a church in Vietnam some time ago.  We look forward to continuing these efforts on a larger scale as ability and op-portunities increase.”
    Allstate is a turnkey operation, buying and installing the materials, to give the customer a complete experience with the company.
    “Our primary niche is working with general contractors, architects and design-build firms directly to get the work and install it,” Sharpe said.
    Branching out and starting their own company came with issues, including funds that are wrapped up in big projects.
    “The hardest part was getting the cash flow up to speed before we ran out of cash,” Sharpe said. “That was our challenge. If you bid on a school, it takes nine months to a year before you’re actually out there doing the work. Then it takes 45-60 days until you’re paid for your initial draw. It takes a while to get a book of business built up to sustain the overhead.”
    Even with the difficulties of a new business, Allstate secured its first million-dollar project in its first year, aided by Vu and Sharpe’s name recognition around the city.
    With a decade in business approach-ing, Sharpe believes the team has the chance to keep expanding off its service.        “We’re up to about a $7 million com-pany, annually,” Sharpe said. “We just want to continue that growth and in the next five years perhaps be a $12 million company.
    “I think it is about making our service stand out from start to finish, and building a team and community in the office where everybody handles their scope in a way that allows them to take full responsibility for their scope.”
    Allstate has 25 employees that all focus on speed and quality, which trickles down from the top.
    “We’re able to get a lot of work done in a short amount of time,” Sharpe said. “Tommy Vu is well known for getting a lot of work done in a short amount of time and getting it done in a high-quality fashion. I would give Tommy Vu credit for that part of our work, for sure.” –cs

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Chris Schoonover chris@constructionnews.net