Flooring company gets off the ground via solid business plan and consumer friendly approach

Tim and Kelly Knipper installed the backsplash featured in this exhibit at Business Expo 2012, where they won "Best of Show -- Large Display."

In September 2011 entrepreneur Kelly Knipper and her husband Tim launched Floorology, an innovative flooring business that utilizes 3-D architectural design software to help customers make flooring choices. In an industry known for extensive inventory and overhead, Floorology offers first-of-its-kind services to residential and commercial clients throughout central Wisconsin. 

Traditionally, customers choose floor covering by viewing countless samples and are often surprised and even disappointed once it is installed. That’s a scenario Floorology strives to eliminate with its 3-D design software.

“The finishes in a new construction project are one of the most expensive parts of a home or business. You could spend $50,000 on the flooring in a new home -- more than that in a higher-end home. And to not know what it was going to look like is kind of a scary thought,” Kelly says

“We understand that our customers are busy, so we come to their home, do everything in the comfort of their home and have the ability to show them a 3-D visualization of what their project might look like once it is completed,” she explains. 

Prior to starting Floorology, Kelly enrolled in the Entrepreneur Training Program at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point Small Business Development Center (SBDC), part of the Wisconsin SBDC Network managed by UW-Extension.

“The SBDC helped me complete the business plan, which created the blueprint for us to develop and grow our business, which I think is an invaluable process,” Kelly says. “It can be a very painstaking process that many new businesses may want to completely avoid. But you can make mistakes on paper so much easier and less costly than if you were to go out into the real world and figure out too late that it wasn’t the right approach.”

Referring to SBDC Director Vicki Lobermeier’s business counseling, Kelly says, “Her ability to look at our plans and validate what we were thinking gave us the confidence to know that we have a partner by our side that has been there and done that and knows what works and what doesn’t.”

The SBDC also connected the Knippers to the Wausau Business Incubator, where the business is located today.

“That has also been a huge resource for us in terms of getting our business started and building that strong foundation,” Kelly adds.

Floorology currently employs three people. Kelly says expansion and possibly franchising are part of the company’s future plans.

“We are growing at a pace that we can maintain consistency and quality,” she says. “So if and when that national or franchise expansion happens, it will only happen when we have a really good solid foundation to be able to maintain that quality throughout.”  

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