Rug Superstore to Join Fray

Article excerpt

Byline: Anna Marie Kukec Daily Herald Business Writer

The Empire Carpet Man could get the rug pulled out from under him next week as competition increases.

Capel Rugs opens its first Midwest superstore next Thursday at 156 E. Golf Road in Schaumburg and three more stores are planned for the Chicago area over the next two years. The store will feature about 10,000 area rugs of every imaginable style, size, color and material.

"You need to follow your passion in life and that's what I've done," said Ron Capel, retail store division director. "We've got rugs in our blood."

Ron Capel is the grandson of founder A. Leon Capel Sr., who started making rugs in 1917. The family's third and fourth generations still own Troy, N.C.-based Capel Inc. It primarily had been a wholesaler, but recently started a new venture, licensing about 10 exclusive Capel Rugs retail stores with plans for more nationwide.

The company has been eyeing locations in Naperville, Orland Park, the North Shore and some Lake County towns.

Each 18,000-square-foot store will provide personal service by sales representatives educated in the quality and make of the rugs, including flat-woven, machine-woven, loop-hooked, hand-tufted, hand-knotted and braided rugs, among others.

Capel said he's not worried about competition from well-known Empire Today, Olson Rug & Flooring, department stores, home improvement centers and discounters.

"We don't play pricing games," Capel said. "We don't mark it up to strategically discount it 70 percent. That's not the way we do business."

He said the store will have everyday value pricing with occasional sales or promotions. For example, a 9-by-12 foot rug could cost $400 or more, depending on the material, style and other factors.

He also said the new stores will keep many of the traditions started by his grandfather in 1917. …