From Corinne Abrams:
One of the best things about meeting with local business owners is learning about how their businesses were born. Robert Fletcher, owner of Flooring RVA is a true success story. Hearing him talk about how his business got started and about the amazing growth Flooring RVA has had in its first 18 months was inspiring. I know that he’s a man who truly cares about his customers, the city of Richmond and most important to him, his Flooring RVA family.
What made you decide to open this business?
Life-long dream. I always wanted to own my own company. I went to work for one of the big outfits, a national franchise and was there for a long time throughout my career but my ultimate goal was just to work for myself. I wanted to be able to build a team of people around me and create strong partnerships with my people, with my vendors, with my clients.
What was it like when you first started?
It was crazy – I quit where I was working, I just decided that I was going to take this leap. I literally had $5,000 in the bank. I didn’t have $100K or any financial backers. I was driving around and my fiancé texted me to ask what I was doing. I told her that I was looking for buildings to lease and she said that she thought that I had already chosen the one on Dabney. I told her that I was second-guessing myself. I had never done anything like this before. She sent me this picture of a guy doing a swan dive off a cliff and she said that you are the only guy that I know that would jump off a cliff and build wings on the way down!
What do you like most about being an entrepreneur?
Being able to give to my people. I believe that people give love in different ways and being able to provide for my fiancé and the kids, watching where I came from and my mother’s struggle to try to provide for us, then to be able to allow my family to have the things that they need. I sit down at this desk every Friday and write checks – it makes me feel good. Knowing that my people have work every day, that we are all growing this thing together, being able to help all these guys have jobs, have careers and be a part of this thing that we’re doing.
Why do you think it’s important for people to shop locally?
I think that it’s important to shop local and for that money to go back into the local economy. When you deal with big corporate companies, the franchise fees go to some headquarters office in St Louis. That money goes out of our town.