La Mesa Carpet and Linoleum
The beginnings of La Mesa Carpet & Linoleum started in 1935 on La Mesa Blvd. in La Mesa California, with the first of its four owners, Rolly Buckalew. La Mesa Carpet & Linoleum has remained a family owned business since its inception. The original address is believed to be 8360 La Mesa Blvd. The second owner took the helm in the mid 1950’s, when George Jones purchased La Mesa Carpets and moved across the street to 8323 La Mesa Blvd. At the time, La Mesa is a very small town and caters to many East County customers.George Jones is joined by his son Dennis, and the father son team moved the business to 8323 La Mesa Blvd address, they work together until the business is sold for the second time to third time owner Bob McCray in 1987. At the time, Bob was the executive Vice President for Coca Cola, San Diego, and purchases La Mesa Carpet & Linoleum to have something to do when he retires from Coca Cola. Bob retires from Coca Cola and moves the business a little further east to 8676 La Mesa Blvd.
Bob McCray brings a zest, a passion and a great personality to the business. His experiences from the Coca Cola Company, quickly assists him in growing the business into a prominent La Mesa business. Bob hires Joanie Faulter to manage the office. This allows Bob to spend more time out contacting bigger customers while continuing to connect with the local community.
About this same time, the current and 4th owner, Mark McDonald, is expanding his contact in the local flooring industry by starting a commercial business called California Scene Interiors. Focused on commercial contracting and consulting, Mark’s new business takes him into the full arena of retail floor covering. An early contact that Mark is introduced to, will later put Bob and Mark on a path to meet.
Mark’s early influences in floor covering start in 1974 at his job at UCSD in the Facilities Department, where he is involved in planning, inspections, and estimating for the University. Mark starts to meet most of the Southern California wholesale representatives that sell commercial flooring and related products. While at UCSD, Mark McDonald meets Harold Thompson, who comes on campus to do a commercial vinyl job. This starts a very special lifetime relationship between the two. Coincidentally, Harold Thompson begins installing for Bob McCray at La Mesa Carpet in the early 1990’s.
In early 2003, Harold asks Mark McDonald to do an inspection for La Mesa Carpets. This has Mark and Bob meet for the first time. Mark and Bob share storied pasts, and develop a very close relationship over the next couple years. Bob starts to ask Mark on a regular basis “when are you going to buy my business?” Mark always jokes back that Bob should buy his business. But in 2006, when Bob asks when, Mark says “how much do you want for it?” And the two quickly agree, and Mark becomes the 4th owner of La Mesa Carpet & Linoleum. Mark moves the business to its current location on the corner of La Mesa Blvd. and Jackson Drive at 8772 La Mesa Blvd.
As Bob starts his “real” retirement, he continues to work a little with Mark at La Mesa Carpet, but spends more time with contacts that he has made, especially at San Diego State University. Over the years, Bob and his wife have become great supporters and boosters of the Aztec’s Athletic Department. Bob has chaired the SD State Athletic Foundation four different times as its President. One little known fact about Bob McCray is that he and his wife, are in the latest SDSU athletics TV advertisement that chants “We believe that we will win!”
Bob still maintains a family connection with the local floor covering industry through his Grandson Tyler, who works in retail floor covering in San Diego’s North County. Mark is and has been very active in the industry with multiple board member seats at the Kiwanis Club, The San Diego Floor Covering Association, and with the San Diego Forensics Expert Witness Association. Mark continues to Run La Mesa Carpet & Linoleum, while still maintaining a full separate business with California Scene Interiors. Mark is also a member of the Academy of Textiles & Flooring Inspectors, is a certified IICRC Senior Carpet Inspector and a certified CTC Ceramic inspector.
One of Mark’s favorite memories in the Floor Covering industry is the great times he has had playing golf in all the Annual SDCFCA Golf Tournaments. “You get to know a lot about someone on the golf course.” One of the things that impresses Mark about the flooring industry is the great advances that have been made. All the adjustments and new requirements that bring a healthier environment to the industry as it relates to Asbestos, Solvents, VOC’s and training. Mark believes that the technologies in our industry have greatly advanced over the last 5 -10 years.
Today, La Mesa Carpet & Linoleum stays active in the La Mesa community through sponsorships of local youth sports teams. The companies continued relationship with the yellow pages, and a website, have brought return business, and great word of mouth referrals that have kept La Mesa Carpet & Linoleum strong through the years. You can learn more about them at www.lamesacarpet.com.