Writer/ Christy Heitger-Ewing
A family-owned business since the early 1970s, Carney’s Carpet Gallery was founded by John Carney’s father Perry in late 1971. Throughout the past five decades, the business has grown substantially. What started with just three sample boards of carpet has now grown into a 3,000-square-foot warehouse and 3,600-square-foot showroom. Carney bought the business from his parents in January of 1998.
“I’d done the corporate sales thing for a transportation company the prior 11 years out of college, and just got the itch to take on the business I grew up around as a boy,” Carney says. “I absolutely love my job, so I don’t call it work because I really do look forward to coming in.”
In fact, he’s grown to love it even more than his hobby.
“I used to be a pretty low-handicap golfer, but now I enjoy this place more than the course,” he says. “I just love being around people and meeting new ones.”
Sometimes customer conversations don’t lead to a sale, and that’s fine by Carney.
“I know we can’t be the solution for everyone’s flooring needs and that’s OK,” says Carney, noting that the best compliment he can receive is when people come back or refer family and friends. “That tells me we’re doing things right.”
Currently located on Taylorsville Road, the location is the company’s third since officially opening nearly 50 years ago. The first store was near the zoo and the second was on Bardstown Road, and the company then moved to Jeffersontown in 1977.
“People said my dad was crazy because this little town was nowhere near what it is today,” Carney says. “We actually had a cow pasture next to us back then, where five or six cows grazed.”
The company’s product mix has also evolved through the years. Gone are the large sheet-vinyl displays. They currently carry luxury vinyl tiles and planks. Years ago the business offered a handful of wood sample cards, and now it features large wood displays. Carpet sales account for roughly 60% of total sales, and the company offers carpet displays that take up a considerable amount of store space.
The family business is now in its third generation, as Carney’s oldest daughter Rachel helps in accounting and marketing, and his youngest son Jason runs the day-to-day operations. His mother still comes in to share accounting duties with Rachel, and his second cousin Anna handles daily sales in the showroom. Carney’s wife Becky and daughter Emily are both teachers.
Carney still deals with customers who bought from his father, and his dad occasionally makes appearances at the business to check on things.
“It’s always nice if my dad is here when a longtime customer comes in,” Carney says. “They talk about the old days – the floor he sold and the floor they bought.”
Carney considers it special that the man who started it all is still offering insight and advice about the business nearly five decades later.
“There aren’t many family-owned businesses approaching 50 years of service,” says Carney, who takes great pride in knowing a third generation in his family is now involved.
Sometimes the staff even get visits from the fourth generation.
“My wife and I have seven grandchildren – I can dream,” Carney says. “I think we have a good future and we sure do appreciate our past.”
Carney’s Carpet Gallery is located at 10302 Taylorsville Rd. in Jeffersontown, KY. For more information, give them a call at 502-267-0558 or visit them online at carneyscarpetgallery.com.