Nice guys finish first (and in this case, a gal, too)

Will and Elizabeth Dukes of Creative Interiors Carpet One and Southern Carpet Wholesale

By Lanier Laney

Did you know that Will and Elizabeth Dukes are marathoners?  He’s done two and she’s done five. They plan on running the New York Marathon in November. Besides sharing a mutual interest in running, they also share an interest in running a business together — two businesses actually. The couple owns Creative Interiors Carpet One, across from the Beaufort National Cemetery on Boundary Street, and also Southern Carpet Wholesale in the Staples shopping center next to the movie theater on Robert Smalls Parkway.

Will and Elizabeth Dukes.

I’ve done business for my own home with them several times over the past 10 years and I’ve always found them to be incredibly nice and great at what they do. I asked Will, a Beaufort native, what his philosophy is behind running his successful business.
“We live in a small town and have to count on happy customers and word of mouth to help grow our businesses.  No amount of advertising can overcome poor service so our focus has always been on treating our customers in a way that we would want to be treated ourselves. Our customers trust us to perform work in their homes and we take this responsibility very seriously; starting with trained sales associates and extending to trained and licensed flooring installers.”
“I would love to say we have never made a mistake, but the reality of any business is that issues will arise.  Our belief is that how you address those issues and the efforts that you make to satisfy your customer are what separates the good companies from the others,” he said.
Will and Elizabeth met at The University of the South in Sewanee, Tenn., and married soon after.   They recently celebrated their 19 anniversary together.
After college, she got a Masters in Education, and he got an MBA degree. Sixteen years ago they were both working in Charleston in jobs they were not particularly excited about. That was when they learned Creative Interiors in Beaufort had just come up for sale. Says Will, “We knew nothing about the flooring business but were young, hungry, and terrified — all great motivators!”
They bought the business and later expanded by joining Carpet One in 2000, and then they opened Southern Carpet Wholesale in 2002.
I asked Will to tell me about all the items and services available at the various businesses: “We are a full service retail and commercial flooring and installation company. Our two stores are structured to serve different parts of the marketplace. Creative Interiors Carpet One has an expansive showroom featuring all types and styles of flooring such as rugs, rubber flooring, domestic and exotic woods, and a huge selection of stone and glass tile and mosaics for the discerning customer.
“We carry Karastan Carpets and rugs as well as the Lees, Bigelow and Tigressa lines of carpet. Southern Carpet Wholesale maintains a warehouse full of value buys of carpet, wood, vinyl, and tile. Southern Carpet Wholesale caters to the contractor, homeowner or apartment owner who is on a budget and short on time.  Pulling from our stock of over 20 thousand yards of flooring, our trained crews can have the client back up and running very quickly.”
Elizabeth and Will are proud of their two children: Will Jr., 14, who is an eighth grader at Beaufort Academy, and Gina their 12-year-old daughter who is a sixth grader at Riverview Charter School.  The family lives on Lady’s Island and feels they are lucky to be able to raise their kids surrounded by the beauty of the river and marsh. They were excited about being able to move back to Beaufort and have enjoyed participating in the growth of the city over the years.
The couple also has been active with The United Way, (where Will ran the campaign several years ago), Main Street Beaufort USA and the Beaufort Chamber of Commerce, where Will was a board member for both business organizations for a number of years.  They also like to participate with other local charities.
I’m happy to say that both companies made it through the recent financial downturn due to the Dukes’ combined commitment to putting their customers first, and sales are returning to pre-meltdown levels. Success could not happen to two nicer people.

Creative Interiors Carpet One
1404 Boundary Street
Beaufort, SC 29902
(843) 524-2612

Southern Carpet Wholesale
41D Robert Smalls Parkway
Beaufort, SC 29906
(843) 522-3800

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