Boutwell celebrates 40 years in businessPublished 11:00pm Monday, April 1, 2013
For 40 years, Johnny and Judy Boutwell have kept Pike County covered.
And, in “mighty fine style” most everyone would agree.
March 2013 marked Boutwell Floor Covering’s 40th year in business and, for the couple, it was a milestone month.
Judy Boutwell said she is semi-retired — just comes in when she’s needed — and Johnny Boutwell said he’s on the fast track to “semi.” But the business will continue to be in good hands with son, John Jr., and daughter, Janet Baker.
Johnny Boutwell said that striking out on his own four decades ago was not a difficult decision.
“I knew that if I could make money for somebody else, I could make a living for myself,” Boutwell said with a smile. “I started sanding floors for a cousin while I was still in high school. I worked with him in Pensacola during the summers and he got where he would let me bring equipment up here and sand and refinish floors by myself.”
Boutwell, laughingly, said there’s no such thing as a perfect sand job and admitted to making a dip or two during that learning period.
Recognizing that he had a talent for finishing floors, Boutwell and his bride, who was his high school sweetheart, ventured far from home — his in Victoria and hers across the river in Wilkinstown — over across the state line to Ocean Springs, Mississippi.
“Johnny found an ad where they were looking for someone to sand and finish floors,” Judy Boutwell said. “He applied and got the job. We were over there for about 12 years and, during that time, we ran from every hint of a hurricane. The one we didn’t run from was Camille in 1969. It was the one we should have run from.”
The Boutwells decided running from hurricanes or trying to survive them was not what they wanted to do so that packed up and came home to Pike County.
For a while Johnny Boutwell did installations for a local flooring company, then in March 1973, the Boutwells took the step into business ownership.
“Oh, we talked about it over and over before we did it and we talked about it after we did it,” Judy Boutwell said with a smile. “I didn’t know anything about putting down floors but Johnny made it simple for me. He said, “The pattern side up on vinyl and the fuzzy said up on carpet.’ That has not changed.”
Neither has the quality of work that people have come to expect and receive from Boutwell Floor Covering.
Judy Boutwell gives her husband credit for the longtime success of their business and he credits her.
“Judy has run the business here in the office and she’s done a great job,” he said. “She has made the business.
However, she said that her husband was always on the job and a job was never done until it was done right.
Judy Boutwell said that the floor covering business required a lot of long hours and hard work.
“Many, many nights we would go home tired to the bone and sit up half the night working on plans for bidding the next job,” she said.
“It was tough but we were tough. We learned to live within our means so when times were not as good, we made it through.”
Johnny Boutwell, laughingly, said he learned early in life that sanding floors was a lot better than picking cotton.
“We’ve had great employees; we’ve enjoyed the work and the relationships with our customers,” he said. “We appreciate the tremendous support, business and friendship of so many people that we’ve have gotten to know throughout the 40 years and look forward to many more years of providing quality products and service and of being involved and active members of the community.”