It all began in 1981 with one little shop in White Swan Road, where Roop Darshan is now. 18 months later Kevin Giles moved his fledgling carpet business across the road to where the liquor store is, and over the next 19 years progressively took over the three neighbouring shops and the warehouse below.
Kevin remembers having to manhandle huge rolls of carpet down the steep drive because they couldn’t get a fork hoist in there. “Definitely a young man’s game, back then,” he recalls. “We were ten foot tall and bullet-proof. One time in the pouring rain we had a roll of carpet on the trolley and the thing took off on us down the driveway. Had to recover it from the drain pretty fast. Fortunately it was wrapped in plastic, but it sure had us going!”
Kevin counts his Dad’s support as fundamental to the success he now enjoys. “He believed in me,” he said. “So much so that when we got into difficulties he mortgaged his house. With interest rates in those days at 19%, I had many sleepless nights juggling finances and worrying about how to pay everything.”
The Giles team is supported by a loyal crew with long-service being a common denominator. Carpet-layer “Super-Stu” is the longest-serving at 35 years, teamed with Randy for the past 18. Lynfield local Jerry Mihaere joined 32 years ago and his two sons Jeremiah and Brandon now work alongside him. Roger and Fussy came on board 20 years ago, and when Hills Flooring had to close its doors six years ago, their top carpet layers Lisi and Mass joined the Giles team.
Relative newcomer Dianne has kept the office running smoothly for the past four years, and the sales team has recently been joined by Paul Freeman, replacing Philip who moved with his family to Perth in April. Paul comes with 30 years’ experience in the carpet business, largely in the Blockhouse Bay area.
After 37 years in business on which Kevin looks back with very fond memories, a firm belief in a positive mental attitude and a genuine love of serving the community means he won’t be retiring any time soon. He may take a trip or two, but in the meantime it’s business as usual.