Mia Holowaychuk

Ashley Fine Floor’s downtown Edmonton sells commercial and personal flooring

With social media platforms like YouTube advertising fun house remodelling videos such as DIY projects, painting, and even redoing the floors, people may decide to revamp their homes this season. This could encourage people to take on a new project before the weather gets cold. With the unfortunate circumstance of the COVID- 19 pandemic, the flooring business has been struggling due to the price of shipping going up.

Ashley Fine Floors, a flooring company near downtown Edmonton has left customers wondering why flooring quotes have now been raised so high. Anthony Potolicki, a flooring salesman with the company, says that it is solely on the price of shipping containers rising in price. “A lot of our products come from overseas, especially Asia,” Potolicki says. “Prices have been raised due to the pandemic, which means we have to make higher quotes for floors.” According to the Independent Commodities Intelligence Services   (ICIS), not only are the rates of shipping containers continuing to soar but “despite efforts by global shipping competition agencies and a commitment to freeze rates by some carriers, some players think that prices are unlikely to return to normal until the middle of next year, if ever.” 

Ashley Fine Floors is not the only company that has experienced a surge in prices. Floor Covering News’s (FC News), Megan Salzano wrote “flooring suppliers told FC News they have seen as much as 400% increases in shipping container prices over the last six months… and that raw materials have increased nearly 25%, particularly for vinyl and plastics.”

Potolicki says that his store, in particular, has seen about a 20 per cent increase in flooring sales. “A quote that used to be $20,000 will now be $24,000 or $25,000.” This ultimately means that this downtown business is seeing dropped rates in sales and an increase in frustrated customers. Potolicki says that some of his returning customers are left confused by the price increase. “There’s not much we can do about it at this point,” he says. Potolicki hopes to see a drop in prices for products to Canada but doesn’t see it happening for quite some time. 

So what does this mean for people who want to redo their floors during a pandemic? Potolicki says it is still a good idea to get floors professionally done and suggests staying away from those troublesome DIY projects. “We’ve seen a lot of people trying to do it themselves with the price surge, but it’s best to leave it to the professionals.” 

One customer of Ashley Fine Floor’s, Julia Borden, moved back from New York just before the pandemic hit. Her parents were getting ready to redo flooring on their acreage just outside of Sherwood Park, but with their own business not being as busy for the winter season, the budget that they thought was going to be enough was about 20 per cent short of the actual cost. “It was really disappointing,” Borden says. “My parents were really looking forward to getting their floors done.” 

Borden says that her family is going to wait to see what the progress will be regarding the installation and product price drops. “It’s so expensive now,” Borden says. 

The unfortunate wave of the pandemic has not only affected the price of products being shipped to Canada but has created a domino effect of  rising prices making it hard for businesses to make income without customers paying more. “It’s just one more thing we will have to get through, but I have a feeling eventually it will go back to normal,” Potolicki says. 

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