Reina P. Cunningham
Emmett’s Floor Covering has been chosen as this week’s Surviving the Hard Times series in recognition of four decades of service to Middlesboro and the surrounding area.
Junior and Vicki Emmett decided that after 14 years of experience it was time to open their own flooring business.
In 1986, the couple purchased Johnny Baker’s Floor Covering, beginning their family business.
The Emmetts purchased the building where they are located from Lincoln Memorial University. The building was once home to White’s Furniture.
Emmett’s has survived a flood, a tornado, robberies and the ever-increasing hard economic times.
So how has the business remained successful through so many tragedies? The owners credit their success to their religion, a wonderful community and hard work.
“We contribute our success to a lot of praying, great customers, contractors, a supportive family and doing a good job,” explained Vicki.
The Emmetts also share credit for their success with an unlikely group.
“Our competitors are our friends,” continued Vicki. “We all help each other.”
After a tornado ripped off the top floors of the building, Emmett’s relied on other local businesses to help restock their store.
The Emmetts also encourages the community to buy local whenever possible, especially when it comes to flooring needs. Emmett’s believes it can match any competitor’s price. So, there is no need to travel to a “big” city when your hometown store has what you need at the price you need.
The owners believe that since their local competitors have been through the same tragedies, the resulting sense of community has helped all local businesses.
As a way to decrease the financial burden on their customers during one of the worst financial crisis the store has ever seen, Emmett’s offers lay-a-way to customers. Customers can make payments for up to six months with a schedule they set themselves.
“They can pay when they want to,” explained Vicki. “Some people come pay once a month, some people pay every week.”
Family businesses run in the family so to speak. Vicki’s father, Ben Hickman, owns Hickman Building Supply, another local business sticking it out in hard economic times.
Their son recently started helping with the business. The Emmetts hope the store is around for their children and grandchildren to continue in Middlesboro.
Emmett’s is open Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. and Saturday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
To nominate a long-standing locally owned business to be featured in Surviving the Hard Times, contact Reina Parker Cunningham at 606-248-1010, ext. 205, email@example.com.