Published: December 19, 2013
One of the oldest flooring companies in Colorado Springs will close at day's end Friday, the victim of big-box and online competition, the rising costs of doing business and a local economy still in comeback mode.
Sperry & Mock The Floor Store opened in early 1961, and has sold carpeting, tile, hardwood and other flooring from a strip mall storefront at 1831 N. Circle Drive since 1989.
"The economy in Colorado Springs the last five years finally got to us," owner Dave Sarton said. "We decided about two weeks ago; we were at the point where we were looking at what was going on with our economy, and what our needs were going to be in the coming months. We just decided that there was nothing on the horizon that indicated there was going to be any significant change in our local business climate."
Even a recent uptick in homebuilding wasn't enough to persuade him to stay in business. Sarton said most of what he sees taking place is the rebuilding of homes destroyed in wildfires, not a rash of new development.
It wasn't just the economy that factored into his decision, however.
"There are regulations that affect our business, and health-care costs are going up considerably," he said. "It was just a big variety of things that caused us to decide that enough was enough."
The business was started in 1961 by Ivan Sperry and Leroy Mock, who had worked for what is now the city's oldest flooring company, Floor Craft, before striking out on their own. Sarton went to work for the pair in 1964, and bought the business in 1977.
"I hate seeing them go out of business," said Mark Strauch, owner of Floor Craft, which his grandparents opened in 1942. "Floor Craft and Sperry & Mock always had a really good relationship. We helped each other out if we needed to. And they had great integrity in the industry."
Sarton, who was on Colorado Springs City Council in the 1980s and has served on the boards of numerous organizations, said he had 15 employees before the recession hit. To reduce costs, he started using contract installers instead of employee installers, and slashed his workforce to three.
"And I haven't taken a paycheck in almost a year," he said. "It's tough. It certainly wasn't the way I planned on retiring."
The store's remaining inventory is being sold for 50 percent off.