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Combating hard times with hardwood

Local couple runs dual flooring businesses in Santa Clarita and Sylmar to meet demand

Posted: December 14, 2011 1:30 a.m.
Updated: December 14, 2011 1:30 a.m.

Donna and Greg Glasnow stand in hardwood floor manafacturer Aged Timber’s Sylmar showroom on Tuesday.

 

They say fashion trends come in cycles. Well, according to Greg and Donna Glasnow, so do floor styles.

The Santa Clarita couple has run the local ACORN Hardware Flooring for 32 years, and realized that homeowners were quickly returning to searches for real hardwood floors — a preference that had previously been a thing of the past.

Since 2000, Greg and Donna Glasnow have run dual businesses to meet the demand: ACORN in Santa Clarita and Sylmar, and Aged Timber, a Sylmar-based hardwood-floor manufacturer.

In its 11 years, Aged Timber has grown to provide custom and prefinished flooring to wholesalers, distributors and direct to ACORN customers.

While the company can provide various predesigned flooring and customize it to a particular home, it also specializes in replicating a particular design or wood type that a customer brings in.

Learning carpentry skills from his grandfather — who built carriages and wagons — Greg Glasnow eventually combined his love of woodcrafting with flooring when he opened ACORN, a floor installation and finishing company, in 1979.

In the past two decades, however, the market has shifted toward prefinished and precut products that you have to adapt your home to, not vice-versa.

“Somewhere along the line, the customer was taken out of the equation,” Greg Glasnow said. “Handcraftsmanship is just gone.”

Flooring trends cycled through all surfaces, including linoleum and vinyl, until recently, when more and more people wanted hardwood floors back in their homes.

Glasnow kept running into obstacles finding a manufacturer who could create custom hardwood flooring requested by customers who wanted the wood to match the rest of the home.

Most manufacturers had a limited variety of prefinished flooring, said Donna Glasnow, a former teacher who joined the business when she and Greg married in 1987.

“It just got to the point where there’s just no one to go to,” Greg Glasnow said, “So, we began making our own.”

While Aged Timber continued to expand, the flooring industry was also affected by the housing market’s tanking, Greg Glasnow said.

Adjusting to the shifting economy, the company now shares its 17,000-square-foot manufacturing site in Sylmar with another business and the staffs of both ACORN and Aged Timber were reduced.

Today, Aged Timber employs 20 people, and five employees work with ACORN Hardwood Flooring.

However, the downsizing only means the company’s creating more custom flooring in individual homes as opposed supplying flooring for (entire developments of) new homes, Donna Glasnow said.

What has kept Greg Glasnow in the industry all these years — despite the uncertain economic times — is the ability to work with his hands, he said. And the couple enjoys the opportunity to cater to the individual needs of customers, even in an age when people flock to IKEA to purchase an entire premade room.

“We’re not for everyone,  but we can give them what they want,” Donna Glasnow said.

Greg Glasnow also appreciates the community that the flooring industry has created — woodmaking, in particular.

If a customer brings in a sample of hardwood flooring from the ’40s, Greg can usually track down the manufacturer and find out if the company is still in business, so he can try to replicate the floor.

The hunt often results in Greg Glasnow chatting with an older person from the industry who can give him some tips and wisdom.

While Aged Timber sells itself on going back to the quality flooring of the past, the company is “trying to evolve,” Greg Glasnow said.

Through technology he has helped design and install in the factory to automate parts of the manufacturing process, he said.

The various machines can shave seconds off the staff’s responsibilities, which adds up to a lot of time, Greg Glasnowsaid.

But there’s still much that needs to be done by hand to maintain the originality of each order.
“If you stretch yourself, you can make a product even your competitors are impressed by,” he said. “I think Grandpa would be proud.”


ACORN Hardwood Flooring’s showroom can be visited by appointment only by calling (661) 255-9663 or going online at www.acornfloors.com.


Aged Timber is showroom can be visited by appointment only by calling (818) 897-9663 or going online atagedtimber.net.

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