Chesapeake Family Flooring’s roots date back to the early 1930s, when the Carroll family moved to Chestertown from Easton and opened a dry cleaning and tailor shop in town. Company founder Robert J. Carroll and his wife, Alma, borrowed the princely sum of $300 from Robert’s brother to use as bank collateral in making the down payment on second-hand dry cleaning machinery and supplies. testThe store’s first location was in the old telephone building – a brick structure situated across from the Post Office and People’s Bank. Because the building is located on the edge of the city park and there was already another “Carroll” dry cleaning business that served the region, the family decided to name the new business Park Cleaners.Park Cleaners quickly became known for quality service. Customer service was a major commitment, including staying open until 10 pm on Friday and Saturday nights – quite an innovation in the mid-1930s.In 1935, the dry cleaning operation was moved across the Chester River to Kingstown – a location at 7306 Church Hill Road that remains in operation to this day. In 1939, a cinder block building was built to house the growing operations, and this facility was expanded again in 1941 including the addition of a second story. That expansion enabled the company to add rug cleaning as well as laundry operations.About this time, the Park’s also began making deliveries, using a fleet of three delivery trucks. A second dry cleaning operation was also acquired in Centreville, the neighboring county seat, further expanding the geographic reach of the business.Being in the delivery business was hard work. In those days, the typical delivery truck ran for 50,000 miles. But with ingenuity and frugality – not to mention numerous repairs – Park’s trucks ran closer to 150,000 miles before needing to be replaced.
The years of World War II added to the challenges of managing a business, because it was difficult to find labor to run the operations. Nevertheless, the business survived the war years and thrived through the 1950s. In 1960, new property was purchased on Cross Street in Chestertown, which included adding the town’s first drive-up window for consumer drop-off and pick-up of clothes. The Cross Street building would go through several more expansions during the 1960s to accommodate the growing needs of area consumers.In 1968, a new chapter began when the Park’s entered the carpeting business, representing Mohawk carpets – then as now one of the major brand names in the industry. Modest first-year carpet sales of $12,500 proceeded to grow steadily, reaching $100,000 just four years later.The success of the carpeting business led to the addition of still more products and services in the 1970s and 1980s. These included vinyl floor coverings, ceramic tile, and hardwood. The company even operated uniform rental and custodian supply businesses.During these years, Park’s distinguished itself as a local leader in many ways. For example, it was the first company in Chestertown to use computers in its administrative operations – even before the local banks and county government made that transition. At various times, the company’s employment topped 40 people, and business relationships with suppliers were mutually respectful and rewarding.In 2001, the dry cleaning and laundry part of the business was sold to Admiral Cleaners of Annapolis, which today continues to operate in the Cross Street location. All floor covering operations were consolidated in the Kingstown building which was completely remodeled, and the company’s name was changed to Park Rug & Floor Covering Corporation to reflect the refined focus of the business.
In May 2008, the newest chapter in the family business began when Bob Schauber, great grandson of founders Robert J. and Alma Carroll, decided to continue the legacy. He established Chesapeake Family Flooring at the same location on Church Hill Road in Kingstown where Park Rug & Floor Covering had operated.
Ours is an inspirational story of how a family business was successfully established … and how it continues to serve the community through hard work, serving and listening to customers. Our loyal customer base has included more than 8,000 dry cleaning patrons over the years, plus countless others in the rug and flooring business. It is our goal to continue providing the best quality products and caring customer service at fair prices for years to come.