There’s nothing quite like finding yourself stuck in traffic, morning after morning, evening after evening, day after day to focus your mind on what you really want to do with your life.
Apart, perhaps, from looking down and seeing one leg in a plaster cast the other wedged to the hilt and hanging through a kitchen ceiling, the kitchen ceiling of your new business’s first customer.
Yes, it’s safe to say that though owner David Rees and his team of craftsmen have carved out an enviable reputation for quality and reliability since they began back in the dim and distant 1992, establishing Goodwood Floors as a successful, family run business in the wood flooring industry, has never been easy and was certainly never, ever going to be a click-of-the-fingers foregone conclusion.
“It was while marooned yet again in the nose-to-tail gridlock on the A23,” David remembers, “on my usual commute from Reigate to work in south London, that I first began to see taking shape in my mind the very real possibility of starting my own wood flooring business.”
Working for a small firm in the capital David had been captivated and inspired by the beauty, history and longevity of natural wood floors just at the time when wood flooring was starting to become popular with the general public once more.
“Even though oak, herringbone, parquet and strip board floors had been used for hundreds of years previously it was only then, at that time, when people seemed to become interested in them again. I was really inspired at the thought of restoring such old floors to their natural beauty, installing new ones to the highest quality, and helping promote the use of this wonderful natural product.”
David has always considered himself somewhat resourceful and self sufficient: “My uncle ran a successful power tools and fixings business and further back my great grandfather was a master stonemason with his own building firm, so you might say that the entrepreneurial spirit is naturally built into my DNA.”
But starting out, back in 1992, with no personal business contacts to speak of, he was forced to rely on the local paper and the old Yellow Pages to promote the fledgling Goodwood Floors. More importantly, he needed an unswerving faith in his own abilities to complete work for customers who had never used him before.
Even though, of course, it hasn’t all been plain sailing since those early days, the business has gone from strength to strength and, as David explains, “we can now boast a formidable portfolio of top quality work. It’s been a fascinating journey so far, but I am still as keen as ever for Goodwood Floors to utilise the skills and experience we’ve amassed over the years for the benefit of all our future new customers.”
Oh, and the ‘er leg through the ceiling thing?
David had broken his ankle turning out for Old Reigation RFC and had been forced to turn to a New Zealand teammate to help him repair the bathroom floor at a beautiful period property.
There was a rather heated discussion over how the job should be done properly, a stumble and, “the next thing I knew I was up to my hip in kitchen ceiling. The customer, who had heard the debate while quietly enjoying a morning coffee and newspaper, was suddenly staring at a boot and a leg covered in dust and bits of old plaster. Luckily it was my good leg,” David added, “somehow no plaster ended up in the coffee and the customer was extremely happy with both the finished job and the repaired ceiling.”
In fact, proving once again the old adage that opportunity is always to be found in adversity, David pinpoints this specific incident as the launch pad not only for Goodwood Floors’ success but also its reputation for doing work properly, conscientiously and always to the very highest of standards.
What became of the New Zealander, however, is unknown.