Midland-based Rocco Rechichi has seen technology advances alter many industry operations over several decades but for him, nothing stacks up against good old-fashioned customer service.
The businessman — who is celebrating 50 years since he entered the floorcovering industry with Midland Furnishers and Floorcoverings as a 24-year-old — said delivering quality customer service propped up the business even when it had not always been smooth sailing.
For three months during the recession in 1972, Mr Rechichi stood down all of his staff and juggled working part-time as a kitchenhand at KFC to earn extra dollars.
“It’s been blood, sweat and tears. I worked very, very hard to get the loyalty of the Midland community, which I’m proud to say I got,” he said.
Mr Rechichi’s Midland Furnishers and Floorcoverings was among the four original local businesses to meet with Carpet Court in the mid-1990s to bring the company to WA.
From there, he transitioned out of his initial business and began running the Midland Carpet Court franchise, which he still runs today with his two sons, Anthony and Matthew.
Rocco’s other son, Joseph, also did a brief stint running the family business before heading up his own business ventures.
Matthew, who has taken post as retail manager, began working for his father when he was just 18 years old in 1999 and said customer service remains the main pillar of running the business today.
“Business (operations) may have changed but the thing that hasn’t changed in those 50 years is good, old-fashioned service which Dad has taught us to this day,” Matthew said.
“Dad may not be able to teach us how to use a computer but he taught us that the best thing about our family business is how you treat your customers — nothing beats it.”
The family has continued to maintain its presence in the outer suburb of Midland over the decades, going from a 250sqm shop to a 1000sqm Victoria Street showroom before relocating to its current showroom on Great Eastern Highway.
Rocco said he did a lot of business with the Italian, Croatian and Polish communities in Midland in the early decades.
“Business was all done on a handshake. You looked after your customers so what we promised, we delivered, and maybe more,” he said.
“We used to get invited to weddings and Holy Communions and Baptisms by the community in Midland because we made a friendship with people.
“That does not exist today, at least not to the same extent.”
Rocco also attributed his success and longevity in the industry to his wife, Roselyn.
“When I worked… long hours, she would support me she is the backbone of the family. In those days, they used to say you had to look after your bank manager and your wife all in one,” he said.
The trio have refitted multi-floor buildings on St Georges Terrace and are currently working on projects on naval base HMAS Stirling on Garden Island.
Anthony, who took on the role of general manager in 2007, said their turnovers have increased tenfold since the early 2000s.
“What Dad used to do in 12 months, we would do in a month and that has led to the Midland Carpet Court store being the largest Carpet Court franchise in WA,” he said.
“Our store has a distinguished goodwill in the sense that a lot of people in the industry have heard of our store, our background.”
Rocco hopes the third generation of Rechichis, comprising his two grandsons Tom, 14, and, Joshua, 12, would continue to run the business.
“When you see the third generation come in, it makes you feel proud,” he said.