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More than a Country Store
Flooring a growing business as student housing increases
Fred Pickett, front, and Wesley Gay, Jr. of Country Store Flooring Center lay carpet in a home at Burkhalter Plantation. - photo by SCOTT BRYANT/staff

      When James Revell purchased The Country Store and The Country Store Flooring Center in 2007, he knew his first order of business was to increase the sales of the small flooring company that is connected to the main convenience store.
       "When I bought both businesses, the convenience store and flooring center, I had a large payment to make every month," he said. "I knew that I had to dramatically increase sales in the flooring center."
       Revell immediately hired Kail Tescar, an installation expert with more than 25 years of experience in the business, and in the last five years, flooring sales have increased more than 20 fold.
       "I didn't know anything about the carpet business, and yet I had just purchased one," Revell said. "I knew that I needed someone in there that could oversee the installation process."
       Much of the Flooring Center's success has come from student housing renovation - the annual rite of passage that happens from mid July through mid August. Revell believes his initial inroads into the college rental market came because he was willing to take business that others did not want.
       "During this time of year, you cannot mess around with installation," he said. "It has to be done quickly, in a timely fashion, and done well. Property owners have a vey short window in which to 'turn around' or fix up their property for the next tenant, and you have to be willing to work on short notice, and sometimes in very difficult conditions, such as no power in the unit.
       "I feel that we are known for going that extra mile to make it happen, and that has driven our dramatic increase in sales."

Quick turnarounds
       Dusty Borgh serves as the facility maintenance manager of The Pointe at Southern apartment complex located near the university.
       "We have worked with James's company for the last several years," he said. "They are able to knock the work out really quickly, and do a good quality job. He handles the replacement of laminate, vinyl flooring, carpeting and thresholds.  As soon as you call them, they are out there working. They worked in 12 of our units last week alone."
       Revell said during this time of year, his company will have as many as 15 crews working on any given day, sometimes from 7 a.m. to as late as 11 p.m. at night.
       "We pull in crews from Swainsboro and Twin City - from all around this area," he said. "We are blessed that we are able to do that, because we would not be able to afford carrying those crews on payroll year round."
       As busy as he is, Revell still has time to commit to volunteering, specifically with the Statesboro-Bulloch Chamber of Commerce. Chamber president Phyllis Thompson said Revell is a very involved and caring chamber member.
       "The thing that makes James so special is that he is willing to help other small businesses," Thompson said. "He has participated in the Leadership Bulloch program, and is a very good entrepreneur in this community.
      "He truly wants to give back, and tries to do that as often as he can."
       Revell worked for The Country Store as its manager for several years, before ultimately purchasing the business along with the flooring center.
       Both are located at the corner of Cypress Lake Road and Brannen Drive.

Erk Russell
       The Country Store has become a well known landmark for many as the last place visited by legendary coach Erk Russell before he passed away in 2006.
       "It is one of those strange things in that you remember specifically where you were when he died," Revell said. "He had been here, and looked just fine. He pretty much came to the store everyday. When he left, something went dreadfully wrong, and his truck shot across the street. The spot where he was removed from his vehicle and taken to the hospital is still memorialized to this day. Right now there is a half jug of Eagle Creek water that has been placed against the base of telephone poll that his car hit."
       Revell said folks still come into the Country Store almost every day to see where Russell sat, and some show their children where they would speak to Russell.
       "The one thing I remember about Coach Russell is that no matter who walked up, they were prime time for him right there," he said. "He gave them his complete and undivided attention. He never shunned anybody."
       Revell said he is finally ready to take a week long vacation this coming February.
       "I haven't taken a true vacation in five years," he said. "As a small entrepreneur, it is very hard to leave your business, but I have wonderful people working here that have made us what we are today. I guess it is OK to take a little time off."

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