by Heidi Riley
Red Fox Flooring Warehouse in Charlottetown has been open for seven months, and now, because of the global shut-down due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it is offering a creative alternative to face-to-face contact with customers.
On the company Facebook page, people working on their own DIY projects are encouraged to book a time for a consultation, and will have the opportunity to LiveChat with owner Gary Katzen to get advice and direction. Customers can also book an appointment to meet with Gary in the showroom.
Gary and his wife Amanda moved to PEI from South Africa two years ago under the Provincial Nominee program. “We had to invest money into a business on the Island and meet certain criteria,” says Gary. “We are hoping to be granted permanent residency status later this year.”
The Katzens owned and operated a retail flooring warehouse in South Africa, and decided to open the same type of business on PEI. Red Fox Flooring Warehouse sells all types of flooring, including porcelain, ceramic, natural stone, laminates, hardwood, engineered hardwood, and more.
Why choose PEI?
“We fell in love with PEI. It is a great community on a small island. We come from a very unstable country with violent crime, and we did not see much of a future in South Africa. It is difficult being so far from family and friends, but we hope that our daughter will join us here later this year.
“We also saw that the building industry is booming here. What with so many immigrants and people from other provinces moving to PEI and needing to renovate, upgrade, or build new homes, it presented a good opportunity for us.”
“Even though PEI is a small province with not that many people and lots of competition, one way for us to stand out from the competition is to offer top-quality products, excellent service, and low prices. If we get all those right, we have a good chance of being successful.
“We do a lot of promotion through radio and print advertising, and also through social media,” says Gary. “I feel that the growth of any company now depends on having a good social media presence.” They have hired RevolutionMedia, a PEI company, to do search engine optimizing to ensure their company appears at the top of Google searches.
They are also connecting with contractors, builders, architects and designers, as well as the DIY market and insurance companies to get their name out there.
“We also get involved with the community, and participated in a clothes drive with Gifts from the Heart. About eight truckloads of clothing and other items were collected to be distributed to the less fortunate on the Island.”
About the staff
The business subcontracts local independent flooring and tiling tradespeople to do the installations.
At present, four people work at the business, including Gary and Amanda, who takes care of the financial side of the business. They hope to hire more Islanders as they grow.
“Both of our staff members receive incentives,” says Gary. “Not only do they earn a basic salary, they also have the opportunity to earn a commission based on the sales they bring in.
“I look for staff who have a bit of a track record in working for other companies consistent with what I am looking for. Work ethics, punctuality, communication skills, analytical skills, and mathematical skills are important. So far, our two staff members are working out very well, and I hope they will stay and grow with us.
“Going forward, we would eventually like to hire a permanent warehouse associate and sales representative who could call on developers and contractors.”
How to apply
When hiring, job ads will be posted on Indeed, WorkPEI, and Kijijji. “Based on the resumés we receive, we will choose people to interview. People are hired on a six-month probation period to make sure their skills match our needs.
“When you apply, please carefully read the job ad and the skills we are looking for, and show us how your skills match our requirements.”