HomeBusinessDeaton’s gamble on carpet paying off 50 years later

Deaton’s gamble on carpet paying off 50 years later

By Brandon Shields

Managing editor

1974 was not the easiest time to start a new business, but Gary Deaton saw an opportunity with potential to make a living at something he enjoyed.

But it was a gamble that paid off as Deaton’s Carpet One is celebrating 50 years in business this year.

“I guess September would be when we actually started, but we’re celebrating all year,” Deaton said. “Our business has been up, and it’s been down.

“There have been times when you could say we were flat on our back, but we’ve always been able to come back with hard work, customer service and God giving us favor.”

Deaton was 33 years old in 1974. He had worked at Duck’s selling carpet and had spent some time selling flooring at Sears.

A friend of his, Richard Woodard, convinced him to try his hand at real estate since his wife, Marilyn, was already working there.

“I was making OK money, but I really enjoyed flooring and carpet sales,” Deaton said. “And I like to tell people if you enjoy what you do for a living then you never feel like you’re ever working.”

That led Deaton to make his gamble.

“I got word that a man who sold carpet, his business was going down and he was selling off his inventory at 75 cents per square yard,” Deaton said. “I bought it all and had it brought to an old lumber shed on College Street I had listed.

“I called the owner and asked him if I could rent it, and he said I could for $75 a month.”

The gamble was the $425 Deaton spent on that leftover carpet was all the money the Deaton family had in the bank at the time.

Selling one of those pieces of carpet brought in $375 by itself, so the idea that it could be a thriving business was obvious from that, but there was still a snag.

“The check for that first piece of carpet bounced,” Deaton said with a laugh. “So we had to wait a week for that money, but we got it.

“There was a lot of hard work and struggles that first year or two we had the business, but we were committed to having low overhead prices, great customer service and consistent service that customers could count on.”

Not long after that first small gamble, Deaton made an even bigger gamble when he rented a truck and drove it to Atlanta. He’d been trying to get financing to purchase more inventory for his new store, which he set up in that old lumber shed. 

He called a banker in Atlanta who he hoped could help him get financing for carpeting nearby in Georgia and spoke with him. He then was at the man’s office in Atlanta the next morning wanting to talk to him.

“He told me no one was getting approved for financing then,” Deaton said. “I asked him to please reconsider because I would give him my word that I would be good to pay him back.”

The man kept refusing the financing, but Deaton said he continued to make his case.

“He finally leaned forward on his desk and looked at me and said, ‘You’re serious, aren’t you?’” Deaton said. “I said, ‘Yes sir I am.’

“When he asked why I should be helped, I told him that the $5,000 I was asking for wouldn’t make a dent in a stack of folders he showed me in unpaid loans they were trying to collect on.

“But I was a man of my word and would be good for it.”

The man relented, and Deaton had the inventory he needed to begin building his name in the local carpeting and flooring sales circles of Jackson and West Tennessee.

He stayed on College Street for a little more than a decade before building his current location on the Highway 45 Bypass in 1985.

“I had good friends that helped me with that including Ken Brasfield who built it and Harbert Alexander who was my banker who helped me finance it,” Deaton said. “They both have been great at what they do and have consistent service for their customers, and I try to be like them in selling carpets.”

Deaton said he still prefers to do business the way it was done 50 years ago.

“A lot of people want to use their phones and iPads or whatever, but if I’m going business with you and you’re wanting to buy carpet, I’m still getting out my yellow pad and writing everything out where I can see and understand it,” Deaton said. “I’m sure most people think my ways are antiquated, and that’s OK because this works for me and has worked for 50 years now.

“I don’t know how long I’ll keep doing this, but I know when I decide to stop, I’ve got good people who will keep doing business the way it needs to be done.”

Brandon Shields, brandon@jacksonpost.news

- Advertisment -

Most Popular

Recent Comments