Ralph's Blog

“If ... Then ... Else” Until the Hardwood Floors of Your Dreams

Posted on Sat, Jan 26, 2019 @ 08:01 AM

What does computer logic have to do with hardwood floors? More than you might think.

When I went to college, I decided to major in computer science. I had been working with my father at Ralph’s since I was a young boy, but I didn’t think hardwood flooring was the career for me. And I was pretty interested in computers.

It didn’t take me long to switch my major to business. But with an emphasis in management of information systems (MIS), I kept learning about computers.

Once I graduated, I was able to combine my business and computer knowledge to find computer-related jobs in business settings for a few years. But I soon felt the call of hardwood floors and went back to work with Ralph’s, full-time, taking it over from my Dad.

I’ve never stopped liking computers, though, and sometimes I think of providing customers with their ideal hardwood floors as similar to programming a computer.

I don’t mean it’s impersonal in the way a computer is. What I’m talking about is “conditional” programming, also known as “if, then, else” programming. It’s basic logic that says that if one thing is true (the “if’), then there are two options: to select the first possibility presented (“then”) or to look for other possibilities (“else.”)

If “then” happens, no other choices need to be made (the “end.”) But If it’s “else,” then the process of “if, then, else” starts over again and continues until all the necessary choices have been made.

That’s the way we work with our customers when they visit our showroom looking to find the hardwood floors of their dreams.

The “if” is your vision—the true look, feel, and performance that will make you happy.  The “then” happens when we’re able to give you a first choice that matches what’s in your heart. If it’s “else” then we move past the first option and keep giving you choices until you’ve chosen, the hardwood floor characteristics that are just right for you.

There are many hardwood floor options—site-finished or prefinished, solid plank or engineered, type of species, color, texture, and more—and we’ll gladly and patiently repeat the “if, then, else” process for you until you’re more-than-satisfied with the selections you’ve made.

Of course, choosing among hardwood floor options is a much different proposition than choosing between 1’s and 0’s when writing computer code.  But the principle is the same—keep drilling down and making choices until the desired result is found.

To see what I mean, I invite you to give us a visit. We’ll learn your “if,” listen to your “then,” and continue with your “else” for as long as you need until your hardwood floor decision-making is at an end you’re thrilled about.

Tags: custom hardwood flooring, about Ralph's, stories, Ralph's Hardwood

The Artist’s Eye of a Hardwood Floor Installer

Posted on Sat, Jan 05, 2019 @ 08:01 AM

artist's eye2

It was the end of the day for our crew, and it could have been the end of the entire hardwood floor installation. The floor seemed done.

But our installer in charge of the job looked at that floor like an artist combing over a painting before declaring it completed. When he discovered an imperfection, he told the homeowner that he and his crew would be back the very next day to fix it.

It wasn’t an obvious flaw, except to a trained eye. The homeowners might never have noticed it until we were long gone and paid—or never.

But our installer couldn’t live with it.

He was probably thinking about how it’s good business to give customers the best floor possible. But I know there was more to it than that. He also was unwilling to declare a job done until it totally fulfilled his vision of how a beautiful floor should look.

All our installers are like that. When a Ralph’s  installer works a job, the result is their responsibility. We give them the authority to run the job as they see fit. It’s their “baby,” and they look at it with an artist’s eye.

Good hardwood floor installers must be able to envision—and deeply care about—how a hardwood floor should look (always taking into account the customer’s tastes.) A good installer uses listening, judgment, skill, and an artist’s instinct to give customers what they want.

Our installers  meet with your salesperson before and during your project to understand everything that’s important to you in terms of appearance, and scheduling.

And while you don’t need to be in your home if you don’t want to be, our installers will gladly speak with you about anything on your mind if you are. They’ll ask the right questions to help them understand what you desire, and they’ll use their experience and knowledge to answer your questions.

They welcome the opportunity to make you happy. And it makes them happy to install a gorgeous floor that meets their high standards.

They’re ready to put their talents to work for you.

To begin a discussion with us about your hardwood floor project and how our team will go the extra mile for you, visit our showroom or give us a call at 920.984.3383 or 800.354.9902.

Image courtesy of Neil Tackaberry, Creative Commons.

Tags: custom hardwood flooring, about Ralph's, installation, Ralph's Hardwood

A Card From Christmas Past

Posted on Sat, Dec 22, 2018 @ 08:12 AM


Ralph's Hardwood Floors  Christmas

At our company Christmas party in 2000, a lot of babies and toddlers were around, and three women were pregnant.

All this new life made me happy.  Each child was a welcome and cherished member of the Ralph’s family. My own wonderful daughter, Kayla (born July 2000) was in the crowd, so I identified with every young family there. It felt good that Ralph’s was a part of our budding lives.

We got the idea at the party that the young ones and the pregnant mothers should grace the front of our company Christmas card (shown above). So that’s what we did, taking the photo on the spot. It’s now one of my favorites among our annual Christmas cards.

The young kids in this photo (and those soon to come) are now young adults or verging on it. But I have that “I knew you when you were a little itty-bitty thing” with them all.  It’s nice.

Seven of the 10 kids in this photo (including the soon-to-be born) have a parent who still works at Ralph’s, and several of these kids worked for us at one point or another. That’s another thing that makes me happy about this card. I’m not just paying lip service when I say, “the Ralph’s family.” I want Ralph’s to be a place where we don’t just work with each other; we care for each other. A place where we stick together. This card is  a great snapshot of that.

We have what, in sports, is known as team chemistry. That pays off for our customers because our team works hard together to get the win for you—a beautiful, artisan, fits-your-taste floor that is a showcase of your home.

This chemistry and comradery are also important to us because, well, who wants to work with people they don’t like or respect? Not me.

Merry Christmas to everyone in the picture and to everyone associated with it. Merry Christmas to anyone we’ve ever worked for or with. Merry Christmas to you!

May all your hardwood dreams be good.

Tags: stories, Christmas hardwood, Ralph's Hardwood, Ralph's Christmas, Christmas card stories

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