When Your Sign IS Your Call To Action: Andy’s 5 Star Flooring
Now this is what we call a sign! Andy’s 5 Star Flooring’s sign tells you a lot about the company’s brand and the type of experience it wants to create for its customers. For owner Andy Anderson, his aspirational logo is both his sign and his call-to-action — delivered to tens of thousands of people each day!
According to Mount Vernon Mayor Jill Boudreau, an average of 77,000 cars per day pass through her city along the I-5 corridor. Those making that trip both north and south — especially in the evening — can hardly fail to notice the sign for one local business located just east of the freeway between Kincaid and College Way: Andy’s 5 Star Flooring. For owner Andy Anderson, a decades-long veteran of the flooring business, the sign all those motorists see is much more than his logo writ large and illuminated. It’s his marketing campaign.
“Instead of promoting my business with discounts that don’t really exist, I’d rather put my money into a big, bold sign…”
Andy is a jovial guy, but he does have a rather jaded take on advertising in his industry. “People who want me to advertise are always asking me about my ‘call to action’,” he wryly observes. “Seriously…I’m in an industry that averages an under 3 percent net profit. Instead of promoting my business with discounts that don’t really exist, I’d rather put my money into a big, bold sign that everyone can see from the freeway.” 77,000 cars a day is, after all, a lot of “impressions”.
Andy Anderson got into the flooring business because it paid better (or at least more reliably) than his previous career in real estate — and as a single parent, this was a compelling incentive. He started as a carpet salesman in Seattle, and over the years parlayed his experience at three different stores into a career as a wholesale rep covering a wide swath of northwest Washington. He wistfully recalls life on the road. “Personally, I’m a bit ADD — which was why I liked being a wholesale rep. Scenery changes are good for people like me.”
When a long-time flooring company in Bothell went on the market, Andy was not inclined to exchange his beloved freedom of the road for the headaches of managing a business, but his concern for the company’s fate made for a change of heart — and in 2006, Andy’s 5 Star Flooring came into being.
Andy describes the previous incarnation of his company as a “trunk slammer outfit” — an “in-home shopping experience where a few people would bring samples out to their customers and operate out of a home with a warehouse in back.” Andy wanted a different business model — one based on a showroom experience could offer a more immersive environment in which his customers could consider their flooring options.
In 2008, Andy purchased a residential property in Mount Vernon and constructed a warehouse behind it, with the goal of raising his visibility in the Skagit Valley. The goal was sound, but the timing could hardly have been worse, and Andy was forced to weather the gathering recession by renting out his intended showroom and using his warehouse for offsite storage. As the economy regained strength, Andy was ready to move ahead with his original plans for his Mount Vernon location, and he had the further good fortune of hiring a local flooring industry veteran, Becky Tjersland, to manage its daily operations. “I’ve been waiting years for Becky to be our person in Mount Vernon — she’s really good people, and has lived in this area all her life.”
“We are a business that is about relationships with people, as opposed to ‘stacking it deep and selling it cheap’.”
What Andy’s sign so boldly proclaims is his belief in what sets his approach to the flooring business apart from his “big box” competitors. “When you get right down to it, there are two ways to sell products to consumers,” Andy explains. “One way is to go out and find a whole bunch of stuff, fill a store with it, and then tell everybody that it’s right for them. The other way is to meet someone, hear what they want to accomplish, and pick up on the nuances of how the product will be treated based on their lifestyle and conditions — then use your knowledge and experience to guide them toward something based on what they need it to do, and give them a good price on that. That’s the difference between us and the Big Box approach. We are a business that is about relationships with people, as opposed to ‘stacking it deep and selling it cheap’.”
What sets Andy Anderson’s business apart is embodied in his logo, and his logo says it all. “Our logo is aspirational. Five stars implies an exceptional level of service, and that’s what we’re always striving for. Folks passing by on I-5 see that sign on our nice new warehouse and they are likely to think, ‘That looks like a solid place.’”
“My call to action is my sign.”