Chesterton Tribune

 

 

Duneland Carpet Connection marks 25 years

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By JEFF SCHULTZ

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 sports programs.

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 1 p.m.

 

Posted 6/6/2013