Winterize your floors, before it's too late

In general, winter can be a mess. It’s really no wonder why facilities and maintenance professionals get right to work once the leaves turn and the weather gets chilly. Fate favors the prepared, and facilities managers know the importance of safety during these months and always need to be ready. 

Safety is first and foremost. Slips and falls can be very serious; these accidents account for 23% of workplace injuries.  Even outside the workplace and in public sector facilities, commercial and healthcare settings, slips and falls are single most preventable form of loss. The best to prevent potential injuries is by paying close attention to any snow or water buildup around entrances or common walkways, and to consider installing slip-resistant mats or walkways in problem areas. If this is too large a task for your business, contact us for regular flooring maintenance solutions.  

Maintenance is the next consideration. The most common ice melting salts are corrosive. The same compounds that accelerate rust on your car can inflict real damage on floors. Even “non-corrosive” de-icing products can cause damage. Protecting floors from the damaging effects of de-icing compounds should be the first line of defense. An accelerated floor cleaning schedule will pick up harmful residue before it can do major damage. 

General cleaning for appearance is the final step in keeping the winter from ruining floors, as wet and windy weather swirls all sorts of debris indoors. Some municipalities use a mixture of salt and sand to provide traction on slippery roads. Anyone who’s been to the beach knows the combination of salt and sand never stays where you put it; it tracks everywhere. Making sure that winter doesn’t dump its trash inside starts with catching debris at the door and vacuuming or sweeping regularly to guarantee it doesn’t travel any farther. 

 

 Fortunately, there are some simple ways to prepare and make sure winter doesn’t get the upper hand: 

  1. Clear the way. Be proactive about getting snow off walkways, parking lots and drives. Plowing and shoveling should begin when the snow starts and be on-going as the storm progresses. Do not assume that simply shoveling snow has cleared the walkways enough to make traveling safe. Typically, sun-warmed surfaces form a dangerous layer of thin ice under the first layer of snow. Don’t save ice melt for a major weather event; a light daytime dusting of snow can melt and refreeze over the course of a day creating hazardous, slippery conditions by nightfall.  
  1. Cover up with anti-slip coating, resilient flooring, or mats. Minimize the possibility of slips and falls while capturing debris and moisture at the door with anti-slip entrance mats, or by installing resilient flooring with an anti-slip coating. Walk-off mats collect dirt and water and keep it from making its way onto vulnerable carpet or hardwood. Walk off carpeting is designed to accept the wetness and allows water to evaporate quickly.   Ideally, a facility should have about six to ten feet of walk off matting to help clean wintery shoes. 
  1. Keep it cleanWhen winter’s mess wanders off mats, stop its tracks with enhanced commercial cleaning and maintenance. An increased vacuuming schedule also creates a healthier environment and better air quality—not only removing dirt and ice melt, but capturing circulated dust trapped by heating systems. 

Getting your building ready for winter may be an overwhelming operation during this year’s toughest months. If you’re looking for solutions, schedule a comprehensive walk through with one of our flooring experts today and ensure safety and preservation of your interior.  

 

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Smith Shop 3: Feedback Workshop with Youth Build Philly

Even in a tight family owned business, feedback is still an obstacle. Often management feels uncomfortable giving direct, behaviorally based feedback on performance to administration and labor staff alike.

 

We partnered with Youth Build Philly for the final Smith Shop workshop of the year on feedback. The intent of the workshop was to provide a structured approach to feedback, teaching YBP students how to give and receive effective feedback on the job site and in the workplace, by using an interactive workshop format. This workshop was facilitated by Angelique Hunter and Jelissa Jones of Smith Flooring Inc.

 

Starting with seven simple steps for giving effective feedback, students were given a practical way to execute a hard conversation in the workplace. These simple steps were used to develop strategies for framing the feedback in terms which are useful for students looking to take on a management role or becoming a better team player. This workshop also included the development of the workshop scenarios which participants were provided specific strategies for giving and receiving effective feedback in various situations.

About the Smith Shop Initiative:

Smith Shop is an event series organized by Smith Flooring Inc. giving students, emerging professionals and local community members the opportunity to interact with tools and professionals in the design, building and construction field. This initiative will encourage engagement and discussion through a range of events—including workshops, panel discussions, round tables, lectures, networking events, site tours, online activities, etc.—that address different aspects of the construction industry. These events will provide all generations the opportunity to ask questions, seek advice, and participate in hands on activities, while giving established builders and designers the opportunity to support an under served community. Smith Shop will create a structure that is self-perpetuating, providing tools and support for our young people to develop rewarding careers and become tomorrow’s building leaders.


Smith Flooring Success Story

Construction is nothing new to James Smith, VP of Smith Flooring Inc. Throughout his childhood he worked with his father, installing residential flooring. In those years working for his father, he learned to master floors and went on to become a very profitable union carpenter.  As his experience grew, clients were impressed and encouraged him to start his own business. The journey began in 2006, when Kristin, his wife, decided to join him in running their commercial flooring business. 

 

Today, James—along with his wife Kristin and step-daughter Angelique—owns and operates a 15 employee company that provides a not only commercial flooring installation but a diverse number of services that include all aspects of facility management, general carpentry, plumbing, painting, HVAC, electrical installation and solar power projects throughout the Tri-State Area. “Passion has made us a leader in this field,” says James.

 “We’ve been in business since 2006 and our solid reputation has continued,” Smith says.

“We are leading in quality and value on so many levels – no one else can replicate what we do.” 

 

Attention to detail, focus on quality work and maintaining excellent relationships with clients, vendors and employees alike are the reasons the company remains at the top. James and Kristin have merged their skills to create a firm that delivers top-notch work in a professional, family oriented environment.  

 

Having superior workers with a healthy work ethic helped Smith handle a growth period that started at the end of the recession. Going above and beyond ensures Smith maintains excellent relationships with their clients. The vast majority of the feedback on the firm in the field is highly complementary, says Angelique, who handles communication and client relations. “I get amazing feedback from clients regarding the great work we do and how smooth our projects are executed,” she says. “It’s because our guys are skilled craftsman, and most of them have been here forever.” 

 

James adds, “Throughout my life I have been guided by many mentors, stood on many shoulders. Some for the good and some not so good. I made a promise to one such mentor, that my debt would not be repaid to him until I, in turn, gave back to my community, what he has given to me. And so, each and every day I look to help make a difference in the lives of those with whom my path crosses.

 You are where you are today because you stand on somebody’s shoulders. And wherever you are heading, you cannot get there by yourself. If you stand on the shoulders of others, you have a reciprocal responsibility to live your life so that others may stand on your shoulders. It’s the quid pro quo of life. We exist temporarily through what we take, but we live forever through what we give.” – Vernon Jordan

They have also credited mentors and advisors to their accelerated success. With the intense work and advisement of Bruce Downing at Widener University, Smith has found PTAC to be “extremely helpful in facilitating the contract process by ensuring we were taking the necessary steps at the planning phases. As a small business, we were given the right tools and direction from experts.” 

 

Although flooring work is what James calls the company’s “sweet spot,” the firm has added several capabilities in the past year. Due to their commitment to quality, comprehensive management controls and competitive pricing combined with a passion for design and details, Smith Flooring lead position as a construction management firm is near.  

 

Read Widener University, PTAC excerpt version here>>>


M.A.G.I.C (Mentoring A Girl in Construction) Camp 2017

In 2009, the NAWIC Philadelphia Chapter (nawicphl.org) began the M.A.G.I.C Camp program for Middle and High school students. The camp was created as a community outreach program targeting girls to kindle their interest in pursuing a construction career. The first MAGIC camp with Mercy Vocational High School, which attracted around 20‐17 girls, was a tremendous success, and the chapter has been sponsoring these camps since then. The camp only continues with the support of NAWIC members and M.A.G.I.C. Camp sponsors. It was the 6th camp and it was another success! Smith Flooring is a proud sponsor of the 2017 M.A.G.I.C Camp. Angelique, Smith Flooring’s Marketing Director and NAWIC PHL board member, was able to volunteer some time at the camp.

Working together with Girls, Inc. of Greater Philadelphia, numerous volunteers from the local construction industry, the incredible NAWIC members we were able to provide another free 6 day camp for the girls. Ultimately, the camp allows NAWIC members the chance to meet and mentor young girls in the hopes that they will continue a career in construction.

To provide the girls with a realistic sense of how the construction industry operates, the camp was organized as a hands‐on experience. During the week, volunteers from the community, NAWIC members and local unions provided campers with a basic introduction to numerous construction trades. The camp started with some effective team building, self‐development exercises and leadership skills facilitated by the amazing women of Girls, Inc.

Over the past eight years, M.A.G.I.C has not only introduced many girls to the construction industry, but the organization has been able to grow the number of girls that can attend each year. Such achievements provide validation for all the hard work undertaken by camp sponsors, committees and volunteers. NAWIC may have taken the lead on it, but it really takes the whole community to make this camp work.

Check out the photos at http://www.nawicphl.org/MAGIC‐2017‐Photos


Smith Shop 2: Clean Kitchen, Clean Eating Workshop

We had such a great time at our Smith Shop: Clean Kitchen, Clean Eating building workshop last Thursday night! Special thanks to our wonderful team, Chester Made and all our lovely participants. We loved how our pieces turned out! Missed out? We will be gearing up for our next workshop in July. Follow us on Facebook and IG for updates.

This workshop, held on June 22nd at the Chester Made Makerspace, was the second event in this year’s Smith Shop series. It proved to be an absolutely amazing collaborative event. We built a two part event around a clean kitchen and clean eating lifestyle. Tish Lewis a nutritionist, personal fitness trainer and blogger, is a Chester native and has trained many clients, after achieving her own amazing body transformation. In this workshop shared some healthy eating tips and meal prep resources she uses with her clients.

The workshop was broken down into two parts:

  1. Building Wooden Fruit and Vegetable Baskets
  2. Clean Eating and Health Discussion

The first part of the workshop was spent building the baskets using power tools. Angelique, of Smith Flooring Inc, led everyone through the building process.

 

In the second part of the workshop,Tish was eager to emphasize the power of clean eating and a healthy lifestyle. We indulged in a delicious yet healthy snack prepared by Tish as she explained the importance of a organic plant based lifestyle. The snack was prepared with a generous donation from the local supermarket Fare and Square; Chester’s own and the nation’s first, non-profit supermarket. Fare and Square helps the Chester community eat healthy and on budget.

To conclude our event, Tish offered a free fitness bootcamp to all the attendants. We talked, networked and took away some great memories. We encouraged our participants continue to utilize the Makerspace and use tools to build the things that they need.

Follow Smith Flooring Inc. for news on the next workshop, Smith Shop 3!

About the Smith Shop Initiative:

Smith Shop is an event series organized by Smith Flooring Inc. giving students, emerging professionals and local community members the opportunity to interact with tools and professionals in the design, building and construction field. This initiative will encourage engagement and discussion through a range of events—including workshops, panel discussions, round tables, lectures, networking events, site tours, online activities, etc.—that address different aspects of the construction industry. These events will provide all generations the opportunity to ask questions, seek advice, and participate in hands on activities, while giving established builders and designers the opportunity to support an under served community. Smith Shop will create a structure that is self-perpetuating, providing tools and support for our young people to develop rewarding careers and become tomorrow’s building leaders.


Building Up: Youth Build Philadelphia

Building the Future: Youth Build Philly Engagement

The women of Smith Flooring Inc. delivered an uplifting talk to the girls of Youth Build Philadelphia Charter School on North Broad Street. They emphasized the importance of perseverance and shed light on the fact that women are still vastly under-represented within the construction industry.

Since 1992, YouthBuild Philadelphia has helped former high school dropouts reclaim their education and build a brighter future for themselves through education, job training and service.

The program has grown over the past two decades – from existing inside a single classroom to being one of the largest YouthBuild programs in the US – but remains true to its core mission and purpose: helping motivated young people succeed.

Jelissa, our Jr. Project Manager said: “Females represent less than 3% of the construction workforce. We need to work together to change that.”

“The range of work in the construction industry is diverse, from sales and marketing, trades, engineering and architecture. It offers flexibility during a working life which is often overlooked – and in a world where jobs that are life sustaining is rare.”

The message from the women of Smith Flooring was very personal and intimate. By telling their own story they were able to identify with the backgrounds of the the young women present and spoke to their interests and potential careers in the industry.

President, Kristin Smith, explained that her story isn’t very different than the girls at the table, having had children young,  working to provide for them, she had no idea she would end up owning a a construction business.  Sales and marketing director, Angelique Hunter, expressed that a career in construction can be very lucrative and can help fund other avenues of interest.

Jr. Project Manager,  Jelissa Jones brought yet another prospective to the conversation by explaining her college experience, including being ok with the uncertainty of a career path. She authentically talked through how she began her career in construction, her goals and what it entails.

In addition to the storytelling and lunch,  the engagement closed with the Youth Build girls opening up about their own stories and concerns for the future. They also had many questions concerning entrepreneurship and apprenticeship which was answered with authentic answers from the women who live it everyday. The central message, no matter the circumstances, never give up.

Smith Flooring has a commitment to community and paying it forward. We are eager to listen, learn from and guide the young women in the communities around us.


Building Together: Flower Box Workshop

Building Together: Flower Box Workshop

We were so  thrilled to have such a powerful response to our Flower Box Workshop.

In our attempt to create this hands-on activity around our work, every aspect of this workshop is connected to the Smith Flooring vision in some way. To our commitment to community outreach, women empowerment and of course, family.

We had an incredible time with everyone who attended. It was such a diverse group, with varies levels of building experience. The overall goal was to get everyone comfortable with getting dirty and using tools to create something functional. We thought, a flower box was a perfect addition to anyone’s home or garden and what a great item to build as we approached springtime.

Flower boxes are one of the most traditional and beloved garden additions. The container gardens are able to be placed in a variety of spaces, bringing the beauty of flowering plants virtually anywhere around your home.

 

“This event is personal to me because I absolutely love flowers. It’s something that my grandmother shared with me growing up and it has stayed with me into adulthood.”

– Angelique Hunter, Smith Flooring Event Coordinator

Rosa Armstrong, our instructor, is a mother and nurse by day, carpenter by night, who started building out of necessity. Her daughter wanted a loft bed and she simply couldn’t find one that was of substantial quality that fit her budget. She found some plans online, bought some wood and the rest is history. After completing the bed, she couldn’t resist the urge to build. She began to all types of household items. Her rising YouTube channel, sevnth.shoppe, seeks to encourage novice builders that they can build anything.

Thanks to our amazing participants, we were able to raise our goal of $500 in donations for the NAWIC Philadelphia Chapter #145 MAGIC CAMP.  MAGIC is free, week-long day camp for 7th to 12th grade girls to introduce them to a potential career in the construction industry.  Many young girls are unaware of the possibility of a rewarding and financially beneficial career in the construction trades or related fields.  MAGIC is designed to give them real hands-on experience.

We look forward to curating another workshop very soon. To all of our participants, our team and to Rosa and her beautiful family. Thank you all!


"We are a business family, not a family business."

Kristin Smith isn’t just a woman who owns a substantial enterprise that employs several family members and loyal employees. She is extremely proud of her company’s stature in the community and its ability to provide jobs and contributions to philanthropic endeavors. So what’s the problem?

“How long can we keep this going?” I asked, as we sat in the break room. She nodded her head and stared down into her Smith Flooring coffee mug. “Time will tell,” she said with a sigh. “But a lot things will change too.”

Smith, along with her husband James, are very identified with their business. It can be extremely difficult to face the harsh reality of their situation. In business, even family business, in order to succeed you must do what’s necessary. A business can survive only if it is profitable and competitive, which at times can require unpleasant cost-cutting or people decisions.

Kristin understanding the struggles of business and the dynamics of running a household, knows that her situation is not so different from that of other family firms in which relationships, tradition or comfort are put above the best interests of the business.

Family businesses, after all, are the backbone of our economy, creating wealth, success and rags-to-riches stories that are so widely admired. In fact, the family connection is precisely the reason why many family businesses achieve success, creating the pressure to work harder, serve better and offer more flexibility and responsiveness to customers than their corporate competitors. A family business can also provide a sense of purpose and meaning to the family.

However, as Kristin can readily attest, it’s tough to be objective in a family business environment, especially with everyone’s vision of where the company should go next is of their own perception and motives.

After the family took a seminar at Haub school of business at St. Joe’s University on family business succession, Kristin was determined to gain a better understanding of her business’ core values and the shared vision of each and every employee.

“It’s extremely tough, as a mother to make such tough calls in business,” says Smith. “Family members can be re-positioned to more appropriate roles or simply let go. Performance targets must be established, and people need to be held accountable. This can be an extremely difficult time for the family, especially those personally affected by such decisions, but we have an obligation to the families we provide income for and hold things together as a family first.”

Shifting from a “Family Business” to a “Business Family” may look subtle on paper, but the implications of the two diverging approaches are profound. Here’s the difference: A Family Business is driven by family loyalty and harmony as a primary goal, causing choices that often trump profitability and performance, even to the detriment of the business’s long-term viability. A Business Family, on the other hand, recognizes performance and competitive profitability as the main things that will provide long-term sustainability, outweighing short-term family loyalty considerations, thus becoming the primary criteria for decision making—even if it is difficult. A business family understands that family harmony is not a goal; it is a byproduct. When the focus is on performance, the business generates cash, which in turn leads to dividends, distributions and growth in stock value, and these are what set the table for satisfied family members.

“We try different exercises that we learned from our SJU seminar, when what used to work doesn’t work so well anymore. Communication is always welcomed. That’s what makes us a family and including that in our business is something we are proud of.  Our business, however, will stand firm on making the hard decisions, understanding that what is best for the business is ultimately best for the family.”


Cool carpet, pandas and selfies...No flooring project should be this fun!

It’s not too often that our team gets THIS excited for a completed flooring project.  Inside of Round 1, a new state-of-the-art entertainment facility in the Exton Square Mall in suburban Philadelphia, lies more than 60,000 square feet of fun!

 

The store offers bowling, billiards, arcade games, darts, ping pong and food and beverages (adult beverages too).  The arcade floor is full of claw games for any plush toy addict.  Similar to other family entertainment centers, Round 1 has a little something for all ages, but, has a Japanese kawaii twist. Members of our team have been patiently waiting for this project to complete to enjoy the facility with friends and family.

 

 

“I was thrilled to see the amazing installation of this super cool carpet by Astro Mills in person.  But when I saw the claw game full of cute plush toy pandas, my favorite animal, I had to stop and take a selfie,” says Angelique, Director of Marketing and PR. “As a kid I was obsessed with kawaii fashion and culture. I love to see that same culture inspiration throughout this entertainment center for family. It’s massive!”

The Smith Flooring solution; a vibrant design that leaves a lasting impression paired with durability for high traffic.  Astro Mills Carpet, specializes in bright colorful fluorescent carpet that is long lasting and low maintenance.  This carpet was installed throughout the all the arcade areas.

For the bowling areas, where safety is top priority, Smith Flooring installed Armstrong Standard VCT to protect customers from slipping and falling when entering the bowling lane areas, perhaps carrying food and beverage. Armstrong VCT is a staple in commercial flooring, best known for it lasting beauty in high-traffic areas.

 

With family being the cornerstone of Smith Flooring values, we are always excited to complete projects that promote community and bring folks together.  Perhaps you have a family or children’s facility that could use updating, or opening an indoor play or pool area that needs flooring that is both dynamic and safe.  Email our team of experts at info@smithflooringinc.com. They are here to help.

 


PROJECT: The Divine Lorraine Hotel

Take a peek into one of the units inside the Divine Lorraine Hotel. Smith Flooring is a proud partner in the residential renovations of this Philadelphia landmark.

Abandoned for over a decade, this architectural wonder finally has a new purpose, luxury residences. Smith Flooring contributes flooring solutions in the hallways and in all 101 units.

Expertly installed luxury vinyl plank by American Biltrite throughout each unit and Shaw carpet in the bedrooms.