Here’s a challenge: Try to find a home, business, school or church in
Duneland that has not had carpet or flooring installed by Mike Schulze or
any of his crew at Duneland Carpet Connection.
It sounds easy enough, but chances are you would have to look pretty hard.
This month the store, located at the corner of Broadway and Ninth Street,
celebrates a landmark -- 25 years of being in business. And in those years,
DCC has covered a lot of ground in and out of Duneland building a reputation
for quality and professional service.
The clientele list stretches to all areas of Porter County and into cities
and towns like Crown Point, Hebron, and Wanatah. DCC has put in carpeting or
flooring at locations such as Opportunity Enterprises and First Source Bank
in Valparaiso, the Porter County Expo Center, St. Patrick Parish, Thomas and
Hageman Libraries, and “just about anything here in Chesterton,” Schulze
said. He recently finished carpeting a large church in Knox and is preparing
for a banquet hall job in Lowell.
DCC also keeps busy in the summer with servicing all schools within the
Duneland School Corporation and in turn gives back by supporting student
Schulze, who has owned the store with his family since its opening in June
1988, remembers his first “big job” laying carpet at Indian Oak Inn over 30
years ago. His uncle had been a carpet installer before him.
Before going into business for himself, Schulze worked a few years in
commercial sales at a Carpetland store in Merrillville.
He purchased what was formerly a banquet hall, transformed it into his own
carpet warehouse, hired professional installers and built up a small
business that is prospering against the corporate giants, bringing his
family along for the ride. At his side is his wife Kim, daughter Ashley, his
mother Tamara, sister Tammy and a few nephews.
“We just kind of do our own thing here,” Schulze said. “I just can’t believe
it’s been 25 years.”
Ashley Schulze remembers being three years-old when her father opened DCC
and having fun climbing over the different carpets and samples. “For me,
this was the place to be,” she said.
Other than the family growing up, and a little more wear on the joints, not
much has changed since DCC opened its doors a quarter of a century ago,
Schulze said. Mostly the changes have been in the products themselves which
change naturally as trends come and go.
One thing that tends to surprise customers is finding out DCC does more than
just sell carpet. There is vinyl, hardwood flooring, along with ceramics for
sale, and services like installation, free estimates on floor coverings and
follow-ups with customers.
“People think we just do carpeting. That’s not true. There’s a lot more,”
said Kim Schulze.
Given the nature of the industry, Schulze said it is hard to predict just
when business will be robust and when it will be slow, but this particular
year has been lively for both residential and commercial sides. He said
there is no shortage of competition and credits his workforce and “good word
of mouth” to DCC’s success.
“We have installers who are dedicated. That’s important,” Schulze said.
When asked about what they’ve enjoyed most about the past 25 years, the
Schulze Family said they take pride in giving back to community groups. They
have donated to the Duneland Boys and Girls Club, Girl Scouts, the
Chesterton Fire Department, Rebuilding Duneland Together, among others, and
given recycled padding and carpet to local day care centers. DCC has
regularly been a sponsor of various youth sports teams.
DCC will be celebrating its silver anniversary all through June with some
“big sales throughout the store,” the Schulze family said.
DCC is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays and Saturday 9 a.m. to