Tom Taylor joined House Depot (High definition) at just 16 years aged — and grew to become its youngest retail store supervisor at 22. And he is tapped that early arms-on expertise to be the Floor & Decor CEO.


Since using more than as Floor & Decor CEO in December 2012, Taylor brought the enterprise community. But he also turned it into an $11.8 billion powerhouse in the residence-advancement marketplace — long dominated by Dwelling Depot and Lowe’s (Very low).

How? There is certainly no substitute for on-the-occupation encounter, states Taylor, 54, who never attended faculty. Doing work along with other folks builds solid staff bonds. And Ground & Decor’s good results is thanks to teamwork, Taylor instructed Investor’s Business enterprise Day by day.

It is also crucial to know just since you are CEO won’t imply you often know much better than workers on the retail outlet floor. Early on, “(I) learned that a title did not make me any superior or smarter than anybody else,” he reported. “We have to get issues done as a team.”

He additional: “Address individuals with respect and they’ll go to bat for you.”

Construct On Your Encounter Like The Ground & Decor CEO

Headquartered in Atlanta, Flooring & Decor (FND) sells tricky-floor flooring and tile. The company now has 133 outlets, mostly owing to Taylor realizing how huge the opportunity could be.

“Which is up from 29 at the commencing of 2012 (when Taylor turned its CEO),” reported Jonathan Matuszewski, an analyst with Jefferies. “They are rising 20% each individual year, and they have a route to 400 stores.” At the finish of 2020, Ground & Decor had 8,790 employees.

Investors advantage from Taylor’s leadership, way too. Floor & Decor went community on April 27, 2017, closing that day at $32.05 a share. Now it really is trading at approximately $110 for each share. That’s a 252% acquire, though the S&P 500 is up just 73% in that time.

“Tom’s a all-natural born leader, and he’s incredibly relatable,” said Stan Labanowitz, a Floor & Decor divisional vice president, who’s known Taylor for 30 decades. “Persons will occur up and discuss to Tom about practically just about anything.”

Taylor’s encounter assists the enterprise compete with huge house improvement suppliers House Depot, Lowe’s and Lumber Liquidators (LL) on value. But it is also nimble and buyer-centric plenty of to just take on “13,000 independent mother-and-pop flooring shops” throughout the U.S., Matuszewski stated.

Flooring & Decor CEO: Master From Expertise

Taylor grew up in Florida in a “middle-course family.” His mom and dad preferred him to show up at higher education (his two sisters did). But Dwelling Depot and its co-founder Bernie Marcus altered his path.

“I started out in the sixth Household Depot store in 1983,” reported Taylor. “Bernie was quite influential in my occupation. I was the youngest store manager and the third retail store I ran was in Deerfield Beach, Fla., near Bernie’s winter property.” Taylor’s mentor understood on-the-task education was valuable. “Bernie mentioned I would learn extra at Property Depot than at faculty,” Taylor mentioned.

It was uncomplicated to see Taylor swiftly coming into his own as a chief, Labanowitz explained. He noticed it firsthand when applying for a job at Home Depot. He’d just completed a position in the armed service. But when he introduced in his application, an personnel “just threw it into a massive bin with a big pile of other purposes,” he claimed.

Labanowitz then requested to converse to a division supervisor. Taylor, the keep manager, arrived and spoke with him. He available Labanowitz a work on the place. “He is quite relatable and people like to function for an individual like him,” reported Labanowitz. “He evokes.”

Climb The Ladder

Taylor grabbed any option he could at Property Depot.

By age 26, Taylor was a Dwelling Depot district supervisor. Later he rose to vice president, senior vice president, and then government vice president of operations. In advance of extended, Taylor ran merchandising, with responsibility for all House Depot stores.

Taylor remaining Dwelling Depot in 2006 to sign up for the non-public equity organization Sun Cash Associates in 2006. He put in 6 yrs there as a running director. But he missed tying on the apron and encouraging consumers and workforce.

“Sun did distressed buyouts, cutting corporations and restructuring,” he stated. “I skipped observing people today get in advance, acquiring those people issues that they failed to imagine were doable.”

He states he enjoys the “adrenalin” of regularly hard himself. And he claims he is under no circumstances content: “I’m constantly looking at where by we can go.” Worrying is element of main, he notes.

Lift Folks Up Like The Ground & Decor CEO

What is not component of major? Demeaning people and blaming them, Taylor states.

A single of his early managers employed to criticize folks and put them down. Taylor solved to under no circumstances do that. Instead, he said you move ahead and try out to make items much better. He explained he’s often “studying from any mistakes.”

The Covid pandemic gave Taylor an unparalleled way to put a lifelong record in property advancement to get the job done. Equally do-it-yourself property owners and experienced flooring and tiling contractors shop at Flooring & Decor. And demand from customers for flooring is solid as additional individuals enhance homes, now the centre of perform, participate in and school.

Owners hunkering down in their households through the pandemic lifted Ground & Decor’s advancement to an additional amount. Income last calendar year jumped a lot more than 30% to an modified $159.3 million, or $1.50 a share. And revenue has much more than doubled due to the fact 2017.

It really is a progress tale, far too. The firm’s earnings rose far more than 18% in 2020 to $2.4 billion. And that signifies the firm’s leading line has soared by more than 130% in Taylor’s tenure.

“There is certainly no advantage to Covid, but the final result is people are owning to repurpose room in their households (for household schooling and workplaces),” Taylor claimed. “They’re not traveling and not likely out,” so they have revenue for property enhancements.

Adapt To Dislocations

To aid property owners with their initiatives, Floor & Decor adjusted during the pandemic. It elevated the quantity of do-it-you help on its internet site and introduced clinics on Fb‘s (FB) Instagram. And it instituted “virtual layout conferences on the web with style and design professionals,” Taylor mentioned.

Ground & Decor also works tough to continue to keep an edge with pro customers, claims Michael Lasser, an analyst with UBS. “It goes to current market with an comprehensive assortment of goods,” he claimed. And the business keeps “work-ton quantities on hand,” enabling contractors to get to work on initiatives right away.

Flooring & Decor CEO: Hold Your Personnel Risk-free

From the commencing of the pandemic, the business took time to examine the very best way to deal with the business enterprise and support workers, Taylor suggests. As normally, he boils points down to a uncomplicated statement: “We paused.”

Building source providers are labeled as critical. Ground & Decor’s merchants could have stayed open up. But they didn’t, other than for a curbside select-up plan. “We needed to make certain our associates had been safe and sound,” Taylor stated.

But in excess of time, the business started off letting much more people back into merchants. Shielding work was crucial. “We worked really hard to shield our affiliate foundation. We cut several hours but we held our complete-time workforce intact.” The corporation laid off some aspect-time associates, but it has now rehired about 80% of individuals workforce.

Hire Persons Who Love Do the job

Taylor hires individuals who want to have exciting at work and who have a good mind-set.

He provides staff the prospect to shift up. But he is careful not to push them ahead much too early. “I try out to make guaranteed individuals get all the experience they need so they can be successful when they get to the next degree,” mentioned Taylor.

“I inform our people the most important good results we have as professionals is looking at somebody who performs for us achieve a lot more. Which is the major joy I have,” stated Taylor.

Ground & Decor CEO Taylor’s Keys

  • Ground & Decor CEO because 2012. Rose from becoming a 16-12 months-outdated residence-advancement shop affiliate At Household Depot by respecting workers and fostering teamwork.
  • Overcame: Covid small business “pause” with a target on on the internet education and learning and style and design solutions for do-it-oneself consumers and substantial in-stock inventory for pro contractors.
  • Lesson: “The largest achievements we have as managers is observing a person who works for us achieve additional.”