Couple builds flooring business from the ground up
When then-2-years-old Sandy Franco’s family moved from her native Mexico to Los Angeles in 1974, her father supported the family by working at a shoe repair shop. Today, Franco and her husband, Walter, support their family by selling things that shoes walk on.
Sandy and Walter met in high school and had their first of three children when Sandy was 18. Walter, who was born in El Salvador and moved with his family to the U.S. when he was 4, took a job working at a warehouse. A secretary there was impressed with his work ethic and, because she was moving out of state, asked Walter if he’d like to take over her husband’s carpet cleaning business.
“We bought a carpet cleaning machine for $1,000 and cleaned carpets for three years, both of us full time,” Sandy says.
Walter focused on sales, going door-to-door to try to land commercial cleaning accounts, while Sandy worked in the back office, making marketing fliers on a typewriter.
“When Walter talked to people about cleaning their carpets, they started asking if we sold carpet, too, so we decided to see what we could do,” Franco says.
The couple opened a store in Hawthorne, named it Carpet Pros, and began selling and installing carpet.
“We had the store in the front and we lived in the back. It was all we could afford then,” she says.
The business grew significantly and the Francos bought a larger storefront in Lawndale. The couple now has eight office employees and about 35 workers doing installation.
With consumers favoring wood and vinyl flooring over carpet these days, the couple renamed the business Floor Pros in the fall of 2019.
The Francos support their community by donating to their church, local schools, and other organizations, and sponsoring youth sports leagues in their area.
“Our Hispanic heritage is important to us,” Franco says. “Our parents brought us here to get a better life and we have to find a way to keep that better life and help others, too.”
The Francos opened their first Union Bank account in 1998 and have been with the bank ever since. They have gotten a commerical real estate loan for their store and investor real estate loans for most of their rental properties from Union Bank, and keep their business and personal accounts with the bank as well.
“I love Union Bank; I’m a big advocate,” Franco says. “They have always been very nice to us and have always supported us when we needed them.”
Learn more about Business Banking from Union Bank.
Written by Erik Battenberg