When brothers Rick and Ron Hjelmeland launched Hjelmeland Flooring in April 2007 they were pursuing a personal dream.
Rick Hjelmeland said opening a flooring store in Humboldt at 608 Sumner Ave. was the fulfillment of a goal he and his brother had long contemplated. He said both had started working in the flooring industry soon after graduating from Humboldt High School just a bit more than two decades ago. Opening their store in downtown Humboldt was a logical next step in that career.
Now the Hjelmeland brothers are expanding the scope of their business substantially. Working in cooperation with Don Peart, they have created a design center as part of the Don Peart Custom Homes headquarters in Fort Dodge's Crossroads Mall.
The Fort Dodge Hjelmeland Flooring design center is the extension of a business relationship between Don Peart and the Hjelmelands that has been evolving for several years, Peart said.
"Unless my customers have a local person they want to do their stuff, (Hjelmeland Flooring) does all my flooring for my business," Peart said. "People come in and they want to know who to get carpet from, I send them to (Hjelmeland Flooring)."
Peart stressed that the arrangement is intended to be a convenience for customers of both businesses, but isn't a formal joint venture. He said the two businesses cooperate, but are not legally linked.
"It's a place to hang our hat," said Rick Hjelmeland of the presence his store now has in Fort Dodge as a result of the arrangement with Don Peart Custom Homes.
Rick Hjelmeland said Hjelmeland Flooring prides itself on being able to meet just about any flooring requirement while providing the highly personalized interaction with customers typical of family-owned and operated businesses.
"We may look small, but we play big," he said reflecting on the range of products and services the store features.
"Every type of floor covering from walk-in showers to carpet to ceramic tile to vinyl and hardwood," Hjelmeland said, providing a quick overview of the options available at the store.
The store also offers repair services and grout restoration, he said.
Hjelmeland said both he and his brother have found the venture they started five years ago to be personally and professionally enjoyable and satisfying.
"I would say being able to create our own team atmosphere. We really enjoy that," he said, reflecting on why the venture has been such a positive experience for them. "I think we are all on the same page. We treat it like a family-oriented business. Hence 'your family flooring store' is a small slogan at the bottom of our advertising. We've got our kids down there. They are young, but they are part of it."
The family business atmosphere is part of what sets Hjelmeland Flooring apart from the competition, Hjelmeland said, but there's more to the story.
"I would definitely say, we're not pushy," he said of what customers can expect, noting that helping customers identify the products most appropriate given their needs is always the priority, rather than selling them something more costly. "We ask a lot of questions up front. ... We need to meet their needs. Every job is different."
Hjelmeland said low overhead helps the business offer pricing that is attractive to customers.
"The price will be right," he said. "We're high-volume, low-margin."
Standing behind the products sold and the installation or repair work is also a priority.
Hjelmeland stressed that he and his brother are hands-on owners and carefully oversee the marketing, installation and service processes.
"We guarantee satisfaction," Hjelmeland said. "We do pride ourselves on handling all our problems. ... We call them service opportunities."
About Hjelmeland Flooring
Based in Humboldt, Hjelmeland Flooring services a market area that extends out about 100 miles from its base of operations. Rick Hjelmeland said the store has a mix of residential and commercial customers. He said the enterprise services a number of rental property accounts and has clients of one sort or another in well in excess of 100 Iowa towns. The store has about a dozen employees and utilizes and array of subcontractors.
"We run five crews out every day," Hjelmeland said.
Bob Dickerson, a flooring specialist, recently joined the team. Rick Hjelmeland said Dickerson spends time in the Fort Dodge design center as well as Humboldt. He also will have sales and customer-relations responsibilities throughout the store's market area.
Contact Terrence Dwyer at (515) 573-2141 or email@example.com