Mission Carpet Distributors
As Mission Carpet Distributors celebrates their 50th year in business in San Diego, we take a look at how this small family owned business started and grew into the business it is today. The founder of Mission Carpet Distributors, John Melucci, was born Giovanni Vincente Melucci on July 14th, 1915 in Lawrence Mass. to Samuel & Antonia Melucci. John was one of three children and grew up in Patterson New Jersey.
After John returned from serving 5 years active duty in the Army in World War II, the Melucci family moved from New Jersey to San Diego in 1942. John tried his hand at several occupations, including being a women’s hairdresser. After some years, he then joined his brother, Monte, and sold retail furniture at his brothers business, Belvedere Furniture, which was located on University Avenue near College Ave. Some of the products being sold at the Furniture store included imported area rugs.
It was the early 1960’s and John noticed how fast the rugs were selling and looked into opportunities to start selling rugs to other stores in San Diego. John spent a few weeks visiting the Los Angeles market and decided to start his own wholesale company selling small furniture items, lamps and area rugs. As is the history of so many in the floor covering business, the furniture business led way to the John deciding on the flooring business, and in 1963 John Melucci started Mission Carpet Distributors.
Initially, Mission Carpet Distributors sold rugs and specialty flooring items, but then in 1965, found that padding was a very viable product that was gaining popularity in most homes. The hardwood floors were being covered by “wall to wall” carpeting that was much more comfortable with a cushion under it! Mission Carpet Distributors became one of the first wholesalers to start stocking cushion in San Diego, along with Holmer’s Carpet Cushion Company.
Throughout most of John’s years running Mission Carpet Distributors, the office was located in John’s home. This was by plan to keep Mission’s overhead to a minimum. Any local stock of rug or cushion inventory was maintained at industry warehouses, such as Carpet Layers Supply or King’s Transportation, and also Ron’s Gold Wing Trucking, all in the Downtown San Diego area.
In John’s early years, he spent a lot of time socializing and networking through active participation in the S D Wholesale Furniture Rep’s Association, and in the S D Wholesale Floor Covering Association.
In 1978, John’s son Don left his job at Arnold’s Interiors, and joined his father, and the two quickly expanded the company’s product lines to include commercial flooring with the additions of Viking/Normandy Carpets and KH Apartment Carpets. After a couple of years growing the business, John & Don decided to discontinue the offsite stocking at others locations, and in 1984 they opened their first warehouse in the downtown San Diego area at the corner of 9th and J Streets. This new warehouse, and it’s first delivery truck, enabled the company to continue to grow its volume. At this same time, Don started a sister business called Mission Carpet Supplies, selling full line installation materials and sundries, including the service of flooring storage and receiving.
With the steady growth continuing and the business expanding in employees, John Melucci could start to slow down and cut his days back to two a week. In 1986, Salesman John Griffin joined MCD coming from LD Brinkman. John Griffin brought years of experience of selling installation materials and padding. About this same time, at the age of 70, John Melucci “started” to ride a bicycle, and competed in many 30 – 40 mile rides, often winning the praises of other riders as the oldest rider! He went on to ride deep into his 80’s. In the late 1980’s, padding had become the company’s highest volume product line, stocking over 60 different types. Over the years, MCD’s sold padding from a wide variety of Manufacturers including Lycar, Moen Foam, United Foam, Hickory Springs, Great Western, Columbia Foam, Carpenter, Sponge Cushion, and General Felt Industries. In the early 1990’s, stopped selling finished flooring as the popularity of installation materials and padding continued to grow.
In 1992, Don decided to move the business away from downtown San Diego, and relocated up to the Miramar Road area. MCD spent the next three years fine tuning the product lines while making a name in storage and receiving. Initially partnering with Moreno Trucking and 7 Hills transportation, MCD eventually agreed to a partnership with United Freight Services, which it still has today!
With the growth and the success of storage and receiving, it became necessary to move to a facility that could better handle the daily activity of large delivery trucks, so in 1995, MCD moved into the Kearny Mesa area. The first location was on Convoy Court but it became evident early that the 6000 s/f was not large enough. After an expansion into two additional warehouses, another move was needed and in 2001, the company moved to its current location at 7525 Raytheon Road.
Over the years, MCD has had the great fortune of employing wonderful co workers. Early on there was Margaret Winters, who helped John Melucci with bookkeeping and answering the business phone. She worked for MCD for over 20 years before retiring in 1992. If you had the privilege of meeting her, you felt her passion immediately. In 1997, Mike Finney joined MCD, and brought a dedication for customer service, along with storage and receiving experience. In 1999, Veronica Martinez joined MCD, and brought a wonderful caring for customer service and office organization. In 2002, Mike Darcey joined MCD and brought a vast knowledge of padding and retail contacts and relationships. And in 2004, Tony Bretz joined MCD with a vast history of installation supplies and commercial flooring knowledge. Each one has had a significant influence on the successes of the growth and direction of MCD.
John V. Melucci passed away on Jan 20th, 2008 after a short battle with lung cancer. He was 92 yrs old.
Today at MCD, along with Mike Finney, Veronica and Tony, it’s Ryan Schopflin managing the warehouse and helping customers find new growth opportunities. Sergio Rosales and Vince Hose quickly load customers with product and make daily deliveries to customers. And of course our operations manager, Jennifer Melucci, keeping it all running smoothly. Through a deep dedication to customer service and a close knit co-working family, MCD has grown from humble beginnings to a prominent wholesale distributor, serving most of San Diego’s flooring retailers and flooring contractors – both big and small!
As they celebrate the past 50 years, Don would like to think his father John would be proud of the companies continued commitment to industry integrity and strong customer relationships, along with donating time in the industry, which were the traits of John’s early successes.