Olson has flooring covered
Barb Bauer (left) and Cathy Borczyk of Olson Rug in Norridge know their carpeting. | Dan Luedert~Sun-Times Media
7510 W. Irving Park Road, Norridge
Hours: 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Monday and Wednesday; 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday; 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Friday and Saturday; closed Sunday
Web site: www.olsonrug.com
Updated: February 19, 2013 1:02PM
NORRIDGE — A bit of history resides in Norridge.
Olson Rug is one of the oldest floor covering companies in Chicago, opening its doors in 1874. Of its 12 area stores, one can be found at 7510 W. Irving Park Road.
“I think this particular building has been here since around 1975,” said Barbara Bauer, who, along with Cathy Borczyk, tends to customers’ needs.
The store offers myriad floor covering options, including carpet, area rugs, ceramic tile and hardwood, laminate and vinyl flooring. The store also features window treatments, such as blinds.
Although options abound to purchase floor covering, especially at larger department stores, Bauer and Borczyk agree that Olson’s strength lies in its focus on doing one thing really well.
“We are as competitive as other stores,” Bauer said. “We know what we’re talking about — how the rug will wear; what kind of care it will need.
“The only thing we can’t tell you is what color to choose,” she said with a laugh.
Borczyk noted that she and her co-worker are honest about customers’ choices.
“We tell them what will work and what won’t,” she said. “People are grateful for that.”
People also like the informal atmosphere, where they have the time to sit and talk.
“In this area, the clientele appreciate that,” Borczyk said. “They like to chit-chat.”
“It’s a lot of fun,” Bauer said. “This is a really diversified area.”
With that diversity comes new expectations. One new trend is patterned carpet.
“Diamond-shape is popular,” Bauer said. “But the pattern carpets aren’t like your grandmother’s. These have the design woven in.”
Tweed is another popular pattern, Borczyk said, and hardwood floors are making a comeback.
“Unlike carpet, hardwood floors don’t have to be replaced,” Borczyk said.
In the 1950s and ’60s, everybody had hardwood floors, Bauer said. Only the more affluent could afford carpeting.
Caring for hardwood floors also used to be time-consuming. Bauer said with the new finishes, the floors need much less maintenance.
Many customers adorn those floors with area rugs, another one of the store’s offerings.
“It’s great for people with kids,” Bauer said. “Parents don’t want to put their kids on the bare floor.”
Others purchase area rugs large enough so that the hardwood forms a border.
Also making a comeback is ceramic tiles.
“People are asking for the subway tiles, mosaics, glass tiles,” Bauer said.
Not many companies these days specialize in flooring. Olson’s longevity could be attributed to customer service, Bauer said.
“We treat people like we like to be treated,” Bauer said.
“And we do the job right the first time,” Borczyk said. “If there is a problem, we’ll come back.”
Borczyk noted that one time she took measurements for a customer who was not ready to complete the purchase.
“Two years later, they came back,” she said. “We still had the paperwork. People always seem to come back.”