Elmira – Some business ideas are just meant to be, just as some relationships are meant to happen either by good luck or karma.
Lindsay and Jamie Horst first met 18 years ago when Jamie was installing flooring for Lindsay’s parents’ house with her brother-in-law. They married just six years ago.
Busy and happy are likely the two best words to describe the Horst family nowadays, with their new venture, Straightline Custom Flooring Inc.
The most important part of “busy,” is that they are raising three young children – two boys aged five and seven, and a girl, Vivianne, who is three.
While the five-year-old goes to senior kindergarten and the seven-year-old goes to school, Vivianne spends her days at the company’s retail operation at 17 – A Industrial Drive, Elmira with her mom.
“She’s way too young to be in school so she comes to work with me,” Lindsay says, adding she spends four to five hours at the store most days.
The Horsts bought the company in January and were only in their new business three months when the pandemic lockdown began. Things were a bit worrisome in the beginning, but they got through the worst of it together.
“We were fortunate that we were able to push through,” she says, “and we’re busier than ever right now.”
The timing, Lindsay says, probably couldn’t have been worse for their business when the lockdown occurred, but they made the best possible use of their time by doing some much-needed renovations to the retail shop.
“We’ve basically renovated our store from top to bottom.” she says. “With the closure, we were able to get the bulk of it done, but we were still in the middle of the renovation when we were given the go-ahead to reopen.”
They do, of course, have Covid-19 health and safety protocols in place for anyone who enters the premises, with hand sanitizer at the door and they even sanitize their sample boards when customers return them. They also limit the number of people who can enter the store at one time. You can just walk in, but they are also available for appointments.
Lindsay is keen to point out that their suppliers are among the world’s best and any customer who would like to know more about Straightline’s products, such as its Luxury Vinyl Plank, hardwood or ceramic tiling and so on, should visit their website to check out their suppliers at https://straightlineflooring.ca/ .
“I always direct people to check out our suppliers,” she says. “Sample boards are only so big so it’s difficult to get a really good idea of what it’s going to look like, so I always recommend they go onto the supplier’s website and there are reviews there so they can look at their products and see what it looks like on a large scale.”
Lindsay and Jamie are a natural fit, not just in life but in business.
Paired with Jamie’s 20 years of quality installations, Lindsay is well-suited to the retail side of things, dealing directly with customers and working behind the scenes as the bookkeeper. She has studied business marketing and hotel management in college and has a retail management and customer service background.
She has always wanted to start her own business and speaks with pride of her own family connection to local business – her dad, Cliff Gingrich, was a well-respected businessman in town and the owner and founder of M&G Millwrights for 50 years. He retired when he was 75.
Jamie’s installation work is demanding, physically, Lindsay says and that’s another reason the couple decided to buy the business, formerly known as Zimmerman Custom Flooring. Right now, Jamie puts in an average of 12 hours a day.
“He is a very hard worker,” she says, “he has an extremely strong work ethic, and he is very meticulous with details. He is a quality installer.”
Anytime the company uses other installers, Jamie is right there, keeping an eye on things to ensure there are no issues with workmanship. Whenever there is an issue, they deal with it immediately. If the installer can’t return to fix the problem, then Jamie is there to do it himself.
“We are full-service from start to finish,” says Lindsay, “and we pride ourselves on quality work. We hand pick our installers to ensure they will provide quality workmanship.”
As for Jamie’s own work, well, after 20 years he is still getting rave reviews from customers.
Not only does he work on custom builds for builders, he is still in high demand for tile installations because, apparently, tile installers are not easy to find.
Straightline Custom Flooring does have one more ace up its sleeve in the form of their project manager, Darcy Eickmeier. Eickmeier has more than eight years in the flooring industry and just joined Straightline when they bought the business.
Eickmeier, says Lindsay, has been there “through everything.”
“He is basically the reason that we were able to go ahead,” says Lindsay, “and we needed him on our side. He’s a key player in the industry and is incredibly well-liked by all industry professionals and customers.”
Eickmeier uses his expertise as a project manager to do everything from estimates to executing jobs and making sure that everything gets done properly.
“He basically starts the job and he does everything he needs to do from start to finish. He organizes the installation process and is the one who gets everything in; he quotes all of those jobs – commercial and residential,” she says, adding that this is a family-run business and Darcy is an honourary family member and a key component to the business.
The Horst couple has deep roots in this community and they see themselves as just one-half of a “flooring relationship” – and they take that relationship very seriously.
That’s why they work hard each day from start to finish and always deliver the goods: custom flooring solutions, with expert installations, to suit every budget.
Whether it’s the renovation you’ve planned for years, the new condominium building still on the drawing board or a small commercial project, Straightline Custom Flooring walks the line – straight and true – for each and every job.