By Dana Trumbull
“I always wanted to do something besides work for somebody else,” reminisced Rick Tanner, the owner of Red Mountain Carpet and Tile. “When we got back from my grandmother’s funeral in Idaho, it just popped into my head right there, sitting at the kitchen table: ‘Carpet cleaning.’ The idea just would not leave. I traded my truck in on a van, went and got a carpet cleaning machine ($300 on a credit card), and that’s where it all started. Now we have two stores and about 20 people who rely on the company, between installers and employees.
“Looking back on that day, I believe in angels. I really do!” The company, located at 10104 E. Apache Trail, Apache Junction and 2344 E. Baseline, Mesa, will celebrate its 25th anniversary on September 15.
Tanner came to Arizona after leaving the Army, where he served in Desert Storm. He was working for Immigration in Florence, making $10/hour, when he decided to start a carpet cleaning company. “I made business cards and I walked – in the summertime – down Main Street and back, going into all the businesses handing out my cards.”
Rick and his wife, Mary, worked out of their house for the first eight years, slowly growing the company from one van to two, then four; always putting money back into the business to fuel the slow, but steady growth.
In 1997, they started selling flooring as well. “I didn’t have a store, so I just carried samples with me,” Tanner confided.
In 2001, the Tanners finally moved the business out of their home and into the current location on Apache Trail. “Once we got here, we branched into window treatments, countertops, custom showers and area rug cleaning, done in the plant.”
With subdued pride shining in his eyes, he added, “We do everything that has to do with flooring; we sell it, install it, maintain it. That’s our claim to fame. Not a lot of flooring stores can do all of that. It’s a real challenge.
“But If there’s one thing I’ve learned in this process, it’s to stick with it. Anything worthwhile takes time and dedication. You just can’t quit, whether it’s a marriage, a business – or anything. You’ve just got to stay with it; put the time in. That’s when it’s really worth it.”
On this 25th anniversary week, Tanner’s message to the community and to his employees – many of whom have been with him for 15 years – is quite simply, “Thank you. I have the opportunity to have a company that comes into people’s homes and meets them there. It’s different from having a store and having people come and go. My wife and I feel very fortunate to be in this community.”
Grandmother would be proud.
For more information, call 480-380-3211 or stop by 10104 E. Apache Trail, Apache Junction.
Photo above: Rick and Mary Tanner, Red Mountain Carpet & Tile, keep a photo of Rick with their first company van.