Chips off the old block!

This is my 45th year in the family business. The same thing still happens to me now as it did years ago. Here’s what happens when I meet someone…

So I’m at a party. I meet someone new. He or she asks me, “So what kind of work do you do?”

People seem to define us by what we do, rather then what we think… don’t they?, but I answer, “l’m in the flooring business!”

“Oh,” they reply, “carpets and tiles?”

“No” I answer, “wood.”

They reply “Oh, hardwood flooring?”

I answer, “No, wood block flooring.”

They then ask, “What is wood block flooring?”

So there I am trying to explain to a stranger, “Well you see, you cut off a tree and expose the annual rings so you can count how old the tree is… well that’s the wearing surface of most of our floors.”

Most of them will say, “Oh, I’ve never seen that before.” And that’s the way the conversation starts, and here I am 45 years later still having these same conversations!

I’ve enjoyed the last 45 years, and plan to enjoy the next 45 even more! The business is in good hands with my son Josh, and I’m free to keep looking for new products. Wait till we show end grain tiles in various patterns, prefinished, ready to stick on a wall! I’ve enjoyed learning the history of our products too. End grain blocks were once used as street pavers in the USA, and we’ve copied an article on our site, written by Edgar Allen Poe, who wrote about the streets of Baltimore. Very cool! We paved a street in Chicago recently with black locust blocks. Soon after 911 some of our blocks were installed on Wall Street … right on the street! And, we’ve installed blocks at the Baseball Hall of Fame. My idol, Ted Williams’ statue sits on one of our end grain block products.

What a versatile product we have. Capable of being used out of doors for street pavers, rugged enough for the most severe industry activities, and yet beautiful enough for museums, homes, restaurants, etc. I challenge anyone to tell me another flooring product so versatile! We do appreciate the special places where our floors have been installed. I think it will always be a thrill for me to see one of our floors in high profile places. Our blocks are recognized worldwide, for very special places. What the World Wide Web has done for all of us!

A far cry from the days with my dad… of carbon paper, typewriters, creosote treated blocks and coal tar pitch!

Norm Kaswell

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