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CCC Flooring’s mind-over-matter approach converts challenges to creative flooring solutions
With a contagious, upbeat attitude and a relentless can-do spirit, CCC Flooring’s (CCC) founder and President Craig Adams simplifies the complex.
For Craig, with “common sense and the right tools,” flooring is simple. “Each job boils down to 90-degree angles,” he explains. “Installing floors is like playing a game of pool. You always look toward your next two shots until it comes time to hit the eight ball in the end.”
However, don’t be fooled by Craig’s inspiring confidence. In conversation, it quickly becomes clear that what Craig views as “simple” is an art best left to the professionals.
Double-checking all finishes, ordering supplies, transporting materials to a job site, coordinating with other trades and contractors, testing slabs and securing labor are just a few of the profusion of logistics that must be addressed and well-executed between the time CCC is awarded a contract and the project completion date. Adding to the pressure is the fact that even the slightest misstep during the process usually results in a $10,000 to $20,000 loss— “right off the bat,” Craig says.
An Unexpected Passion
“I don’t know why, but I’ve had a passion for flooring since day one,” Craig says. Though he has worked in the industry since the age of 14 and now has over 30 years of installation and design experience, initially, flooring was neither his preferred nor obvious life path.
The summer before Craig started high school, however, his mother decided to open her own interior design business with a specialization in carpet décor. In need of a carpet installer, she enlisted Craig to develop the skill and sent him to work for one of her friends in the flooring industry.
Craig’s first flooring job led to another. “Next thing I knew,” he says, “I had my own truck and tools. I’ve been working in the trade ever since. Ironically, my mother never sold a single piece of carpet, but I ended up owning a flooring company,” he adds, laughing.
Fast Track to Success
Craig worked as an installer after class and during the summers throughout high school and then began working full time. Since he has a natural knack for the trade and a strong work ethic, Craig’s career progressed quickly.
By age 18, Craig already could install carpet independently. By 23, he completed a five-year apprenticeship working in the main warehouse of a former carpet and flooring store in Bedford Heights, Ohio, called Buddy’s Carpet. At this point, he was one of three workers who were part of the company’s most coveted crew, he had his own van and tools and he was making between $3,200 and $3,500 a week.
After leaving Buddy’s Carpet in 1993, Craig gained additional residential and commercial installation experience and worked for a union for two years.
The Birth of CCC
By 1998, Craig had worked, religiously, six days a week from seven in the morning until 11 at night, year-round—for nearly 20 years. Though he had entertained the idea of building a business, it wasn’t until 2005 that Craig took the plunge and began hiring, transitioning overnight from installer to small-business owner.
For five years he grew the business while working under various names. “Nothing really stuck until 2010 when I thought of ‘Craig’s Custom Construction Inc.’ Later, we simply abbreviated the name and made it a legal trade title.” Today, Craig employs 14 and CCC has its own office building in Berea, Ohio.
With the exception of one tough year in 2008 due to the market crash, CCC has grown steadily since its creation. However, it was CCC’s work at the Drury Plaza Hotel Cleveland Downtown that established it as a key player in the Ohio-area market. Not only was this hotel one of CCC’s largest and most complex endeavors to date, but the pressure to perform was heightened because the project was scheduled for completion just three months before about 50,000 people would travel to Cleveland for the 2016 Republican National Convention.
CCC was one of just a few non-union companies that participated in the large-scale challenge. Its crew successfully installed all the flooring in the hotel in less than three months—with flooring types ranging from heat-welded sheet vinyl in the kitchen areas to carpet in the suites and luxury vinyl planks in the fitness center. Craig and the CCC team’s work thoroughly impressed the project’s leadership and demonstrated their wide-ranging capabilities.
All About Mindset
Though it is a relatively small, non-union company, CCC knows no boundaries. For Craig, there is no such thing as a project too large-scale or a problem too complex to solve—all he sees are solutions. “A lot of people are afraid of commercial work,” says Craig. “It’s amazing. Guys used to residential work see a blueprint for a large-scale project and they lock up.”
By contrast, Craig approaches new challenges with positivity and the conviction that he can and will prevail. “It’s all about mindset,” Craig says, “Rather than becoming overwhelmed by the idea of tiling one big hotel kitchen, I instead view the space as three, smaller residential kitchens. I tell my team to focus on one section at a time.”
The Main Event
Most recently, the advantage of Craig’s unique perspective was showcased throughout CCC’s work at the Main Event entertainment center in Avon, Ohio. CCC was hired to cover over 49,000 square feet of surface, which included all walls and floors—and even a bowling deck. The job proved intricate not only because of its size—it is one of the largest jobs CCC has ever completed—but also because of the design work involved.
Under Craig’s leadership, CCC’s team hand-cut and installed a series of 24-foot stars for the floor outside the entertainment complex bathrooms, crafted several three-quarter stars to create the illusion that the stars extend under the front desk and installed luxury vinyl planks following an alternating, five-color pattern in an octagon-shaped party area.
To install the planks, Craig and his team devised a system that allowed them to efficiently and accurately execute the customer’s design pattern. One CCC team member stacked the colored planks by row according to the blueprint, then another team member brought the stack to the floor where a third worker installed the planks in correct color order simply by pulling directly from the pile before him. “We assigned each worker a specific job,” Craig says. “It would have taken most companies three weeks just to finish the 13,500-square-foot section of the complex, but we were through in less than one week, and we completed our entire job two weeks ahead of schedule.”
One Way to Do It
From Craig’s perspective, “There’s only one way to do a job and that’s the right way.” He and his team take pride in their work and always choose quality over quantity. “We have our clients’ best interest at heart and do our job right the first time,” he says. From paying his workers top rates to ensure he keeps and cultivates talent to working only with quality materials—down to the type of glue—Craig sets and maintains high standards both for his employees and for CCC’s work product. With a standard of excellence, it’s no wonder CCC can comfortably warranty all of its flooring.
The Future of CCC
Just recently, a foreman approached Craig and asked, “Why are you always smiling?” Laughing, Craig replied, “Because everything always works out in the end. I’m right where I’m supposed to be.”
Though Craig has no plans for retirement and admits he’ll likely draw a check from CCC until the day he dies, there is another Adams waiting to take his place: Nick Adams, Craig’s son. Now 22, Nick has technically been on the job with his dad since the age of two and officially started working for CCC part-time at the age of 12. With a self-assured resolve perhaps matched only by that of Craig, Nick told his father one night a few years ago, “Dad, I can install floors myself.” Craig gave him the freedom to prove himself and agreed to pay Nick like any other foreman if he succeeded. Sure enough, although he was just 17 years old, Nick delivered as well as any seasoned foreman.
Now a rising senior pursuing a business degree at Bowling Green State University, Nick works for CCC in his spare time facilitating relations between the CCC field and office. When asked how he balances a job with his college workload, in true Adams fashion, Nick replies, “College isn’t as hard as they make it seem.”
Nick is excited to one day take over the company. He hopes to develop CCC’s design capabilities and to pursue higher-end projects. “My favorite part of working at CCC is the opportunity to design,” he says. “I like that we can create mind-blowing art; yet, it’s art that is so durable people can walk on it.”
With leaders like Craig and Nick programmed to think big, and ahead, CCC’s success is sure to reach new heights. While this father-son duo makes flooring look easy, it’s safe to say Craig has it right when he reflects: “But then again, only when you’re good at something does it look easy.”