Mountain View Floor Covering: Giving Home Depot a Run for Its Money
By Carol O'Biso
From Issue 11: Summer 2011
This personal buy-local success story begins in 1999, when my husband and I buy a house in Gardiner and renovate. A receipt found in a drawer says the carpeting in the unusually large upstairs bedroom was installed by Mountain View Floor Covering in 1987, the year my stepson was born. It’s still in excellent condition and would cost a lot to replace. We decide to keep it “for the time being.”
It’s 2003 and someone introduces me to Mario Milano. When I hear that he owns Mountain View Floor Covering and runs the place along with his daughter, Michelle Nielson, and Liz Doering, I tell him where I live and about the 1987 receipt in the drawer. “You’ve got that blue carpeting upstairs,” he says. Since 1987 he remembers this? That’s not normal.
It’s 2005 and my stepson graduates high school. That carpet is 18 too, but the bedroom hasn’t gotten any smaller and we haven’t gotten any richer. Soon, though. We’re going to change it soon.
2007 finds my stepson in college. On the radio I hear that catchy jingle for Empire Today’s 60% off sale; this is our chance to rid ourselves of a carpet that is almost old enough to drink. A man comes to our house with two sample books. We set aside the one that is so thin you can see the mesh backing, and select a color from the better grade. The man measures. He says no, they can’t bury the TV cable under the carpet for us. No, they don’t screw the squeaky floors down for us. After two hours he says, “$2,700.” I say, “And 60% off.” He says, “No, that was only on the grade of carpet you rejected.” We throw him out of our house.
2011 arrives. My stepson has graduated college, gotten an apartment and a job and I have some sort of little apoplectic carpet fit. “Raid the home equity line!” I say. “Enough is enough.” Home Depot writes up a quote for $2,950. On the way home we stop at Mountain View Floor Covering, even though we know we can’t afford them. Sure enough, the prices on their carpets are significantly higher, but Michelle asks to see the Home Depot quote. “Hmmm,” she says. Home Depot charges more for the pad; they charge $13 per step (Mountain View includes the steps in the installation cost); they charge by the piece to move any furniture (Mountain View charges a flat fee of $50 per room). In the end, the two quotes are within $120 of each other. We tear up the Home Depot quote.
That’s not the best part. We express concern that we might have to rip out the old carpet ourselves, because we need time to screw down our insanely squeaky floor. Oh no, Michelle says, that’s included in the installation. The T.V. cable? Tacking that down under the carpet is part of the installation too.
The day before installation, weather stations are hyping a late-season snow storm that threatens to unhinge our installation schedule. Liz Doering tracks me down. Can Brian, Mountain View’s installer, come over that evening? He’ll measure, cut the carpet that night and take the pieces home with him. That way, if the big snow really does materialize, Mountain View’s long, steep driveway won’t be an issue in the morning.
Well, buy-local stories don’t get any better than this. Mario Milano has been in the floor covering business in the same location for 46 years. When asked how he survived the advent of Home Depot he said, “Experienced customers.” Apparently there are plenty of people out there who have had bad experiences with the big box stores, and Mario reports that a survey in a floor covering weekly magazine they receive places the national average for mom and pop flooring shops 10 to 15% cheaper than the big boxes.
Thank you Mountain View Floor Covering. My stepson is now 23. Our bedroom now has rich, plush, cocoa colored carpet. Finally, these two facts are unrelated.
Visit them (Wed., Thurs., Fri., 10 to 5; Sat., 10 to 3 or Mon. & Tues.by appointment) at 505 Route 208 South (845) 255-1041.