Family Owned Business profile: Cascade Flooring America

‘Doing the right thing for the customer is all it takes’

Parsons family
Courtesy of Cascade Flooring America

While talking about why his family’s company Cascade Flooring America continues to be successful in Clark County, co-owner Sunny Parsons said doing the right thing for the customer is all it takes.

“Think about it – we take care of a retail customer and they show off their project and tell how awesome Cascade Flooring America was,” Sunny said. “If it’s a new construction project then the customer tells the builder how awesome CFA is. If there is a claim with a defective product and we take that opportunity to not only fix the problem but do it in a way that our customer celebrates they chose the right company because they do care. All this leads to perpetual business and that has led CFA to spend zero traditional advertising dollars and focus more on community-centric spending.”

Cascade Flooring America was started back in 1978 by Sunny’s mom Cindy Severson. Cindy is 51% owner and Sunny is 49% owner. Sunny had been working at CFA as a salesperson but ended up buying into the company in 2003. He is also the owner of another well-known business in the Clark County area – Heathen Brewing LLC.

“Cindy has also embraced (my) love of craft beer, wine and food that led to (me) starting Heathen Brewing, Feral Pub and Heathen Estate Winery,” Sunny said. “Most partners would be upset with the distraction of owning many businesses but instead Cindy promotes the partnership between CFA and Heathen businesses. Turns out most people like beer, wine and at the very least a good meal.”

A full-service flooring, counters, cabinets and window coverings store, Cascade Flooring America sells retail residential remodel, new construction residential, commercial and property management. In addition to Cindy and Sunny, several other family members also take part in running the business, including Kenny Slaughter (Cindy’s son/Sunny’s brother); Tom Severson (Cindy’s husband); Jaime Parsons (Sunny’s wife); Caitlin Slaughter (Kenny’s wife); Michael Beehler (Cindy’s nephew); and Shawn Medak (Sunny’s cousin).

“Cindy is the matriarch (of the company),” Sunny said. “Her role includes scheduling of installation, embracing new technology and still one of the top salespersons. Cindy loves change. (I am) CEO. I love setting up the company for the future by embracing quality products that will exceed customers’ expectations and (I try) to slow down Cindy’s shift to new technology. (I don’t) love change unless it has to be vetted. It is a good balance, so they are a Yin to the Yang in their business.”

Cascade Flooring America has continued to see a lot of growth and change over the years. Sunny said that in 2003 they had 12 employees and had gross revenues of just more than $3 million. Today, the company has 58 employees and gross revenues of more than $18 million annually.

Sunny agreed that working with family can definitely have its advantages, one being that it’s nice to have family that you can be candid with about just about any topic.

“It sometimes leads to a loud conversation but at the end of it the company policies evolve to be better for all,” Sunny said. “With family they have no problem making sure you hear and understand their perspective. That is very important to make sure we create a culture in that all opinions are heard.”

Sunny said working with family can also sometimes create reactions or comments that are unprofessional, and that it isn’t always easy to stop the knee-jerk response that is induced by a simple push of a proverbial button.

“The good news is you can kiss and make up,” Sunny said. “The other thing that is hard is even though you see each other every day you don’t really see your family member. You see your co-worker or employee as work and when you are off the clock it is a completely different relationship. We are more fun off work.”

Sunny said it’s important for people who have a family owned business to remember that just because someone is family doesn’t mean that you need to try and find a spot for them.

“They have to be a good fit for the company,” he said. “A good company culture is the most important thing if you want to grow.”

Going into the future, Sunny said Cascade Flooring America will continue to embrace technology and evaluate new products to create a better customer experience that allows their vision to become reality while getting a product that will hold up to their needs. He said they want customers to come back to them because they are ready for an update and not because they chose the wrong product for their lifestyle.

“In five years we will be able to do business in a very transparent way so our customers will have points of communication through our entire process,” Sunny said. “This will include visibility or ability to track products coming in, installers estimated time of arrival (live), warranty and manufacturer information links for all products purchased and we will keep a digital blueprint of their entire project on our server.  This will allow customers access to a permanent record of what was done and accessible to customers upon request.”

Joanna Yorke-Payne
Joanna Yorke is the managing editor of the Vancouver Business Journal. She has worked in the journalism field since 2010 after graduating from the Edward R. Murrow College of Communication at Washington State University in Pullman. Yorke worked at The Reflector Newspaper in Battle Ground for six years and then worked at and helped start

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