Reno veterans take over Cordell Carpet
By Jenn Watt
Published April 12, 2016
Whether you knew it or not, for the last 40 years, Brad Sales has put his name behind his company, Cordell Carpet. The alliterative mainstay of home improvement in Haliburton is actually Sales’s middle name, Cordell.
And after being in the business since 1976, Sales is passing that name and business on to local home reno veterans Wendy and Tim Pringle.
“It’s such an easy step for Wendy because she knows the business inside and out,” says Tim.
Wendy has worked for the last decade at Cordell Carpet, taking on increasing levels of responsibility, most recently doing window covering and flooring estimations and sales.
The couple will keep the well-known name and intend to continue on with the enterprise as it is. Tim is a carpenter who runs his own business and says he intends to leave the store operations for the most part to Wendy.
“We’re really excited about moving on with it and keeping Cordell’s name in the public eye and continue good customer service,” Tim says.
Tim and Wendy moved to the Highlands in 2000 from Uxbridge. They had married a couple of years earlier at the Bonnie View Inn, and chose to move to Haliburton to open a cottage resort. They ran Pringle’s Cove for six years.
Brad Sales offered Wendy a job at the store after meeting her as a frequent shopper. Aside from running the resort, she had started painting part time and regularly bought supplies at Cordell. After working the retail side of the job for a while, she started doing estimations for flooring and windows.
“I kind of took over what he [Sales] was doing and he got to step back a bit,” Wendy says.
When Sales decided it was time to retire, he canvassed the staff “and Wendy stepped up to the plate,” as he puts it.
“I’m very pleased she’s taking over,” he says.
Sales established Cordell Carpet in 1976. He had moved to the Highlands from Scarborough and was working installing floor coverings. He kept hearing that a store was badly needed.
“We’ve never changed what we’ve done. It’s always been floor covering, wall covering, Benjamin Moore paint and ceramic tile and window coverings,” Sales says.
The location has changed since it opened, moving several times along Haliburton's main street until the final change up in 2003 to the Beer Store Plaza.
“A lot of people have the concept we moved a lot. We only moved four times in 40 years,” he says.
There was a time when similar shops sprung up, but Sales says the key to staying in business was good customer service.
“We’re very service oriented. That’s why people come to us,” he says.
The biggest changes in the industry have come from customers, not from new product lines or paint colours, he says. People who walk through the door of Cordell Carpet now come armed with much more knowledge than they once did, thanks to the Internet.
“They’ll study things online before they’ll come in to see us. I always said an educated consumer is our best asset. Because they like our approach to things: simple and straightforward. We try to take the mystery out of it,” he says.
Sales says he's ready for retirement and is happy to see the Pringles take over. He's been taking stock of all of those who helped him along the way. While the list is long, in particular he thanks Mike Easton and David Gray. He also thanks Mary McKee, who has worked for Cordell for almost 20 years and recently retired.
“She’s been instrumental in almost every aspect of the business,” he says.
Support from customers, the community and contractors have gone a long way in maintaining the business, Sales says.
“I’ve really, really enjoyed doing what I do. I’ve enjoyed meeting the people. I love the cottagers. It’s such a pleasure working with local contractors,” he says.
Wendy and Tim Pringle are eager to continue those relationships. They intend to keep up with the product training for staff, the strong customer service focus and the close relationship with contractors, all of which will make the store better for shoppers. They thank Haliburton County Development Corporation for helping them with taking over the business.
They are also intending to hire additional staff and are looking for one full-time and one part-time employee.
If all goes according to plan, the sale of Cordell Carpet will be final on Friday, April 15.