History of Fishman Flooring

Wholesale Flooring Supply Flooring Supplies Distributor Flooring Tools

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   In 1919, 19-year old Albert Fishman, who had emigrated with his parents and sisters from Russia to the United States in 1906, opened a business in Baltimore, Maryland selling fabric scraps that he gleaned from the cutting tables of local clothing factories. He named the business L. Fishman & Son for his mother Leah.

   In 1923, Albert expanded his business to serve the local garment industry, dropping the scrap business and concentrating on tailors' trimmings and industrial sewing threads. That same year, L. Fishman & Son became the distributor for the American Thread Company, the largest manufacturer of industrial sewing threads in the United States. It was a relationship that would last more than 60 years and marked the entry of L. Fishman & Son into the distribution business.

   Nelson Fishman, fresh from college, a short career in public accounting and the Army, joined the family business in 1958. Nelson soon became aware that the Roberts Company, a manufacturer of carpet installation supplies, was looking for a distributor in Baltimore. Based on Fishman's experience selling sewing supplies to carpet installers, he convinced Roberts that L. Fishman & Son was the logical choice and, in 1960, the company became a Robert's distributor. In order to better manage its new business, the firm was divided into two divisions: Flooring Installation Products and Textile Products. Nelson Fishman remained at the helm of the business until 2012, when he retired.

   Ray Colombo joined the firm in 1976 as General Manager and established a long-term growth plan for the Flooring Installation Products business, including the addition of commercial flooring products to the offerings. The growth plan was successful and, in the fall of 1984, the Textile Products Division was sold, enabling the firm to focus solely on the flooring industry. Ray became President and COO of the firm in 1985 and, in 2004, was named CEO and Vice Chairman of the Board. He retired in 2012.

   Bob Wagner, whose experience in the flooring industry dates back to the mid-1970s, began his career at Fishman in 1997 as Vice President of Sales and Marketing. Since October 2003, Bob has served as President of the firm, which changed its operating name to Fishman Flooring Solutions in 2011 to better reflect its business.

   Bob was appointed to the posts of CEO and Chairman of the Board in May 2012. At that time, he orchestrated on behalf of the firm's employees the purchase of all outstanding shares of Fishman stock held by Nelson Fishman and Ray Colombo, making the company 100 percent employee owned.

   Under Bob's leadership, Fishman Flooring Solutions has continued to grow and prosper both organically and through acquisition. Since he became President, the firm has opened branches in Georgia, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia.

   Further fueling the growth of the firm have been the acquisitions of four established flooring distributors. Fishman purchased Clark Flooring Solutions in Pittsburgh in October 2008, giving it access to markets in central, western, and northwestern Pennsylvania and eastern, central and southern Ohio. In July 2013, Sobol Sales of Cleveland was acquired by Fishman, opening opportunities in the Cleveland and Toledo markets.

   In April 2015, Fishman again expanded its footprint with its purchase of Ohio-based Tri-State Floor Covering Supplies. Now known as Tri-State Fishman Flooring Solutions, the company has single branches in Cincinnati, Ohio; Dayton, Ohio; and Crescent Springs, Kentucky; and two branches in Columbus, Ohio.

   The company's most recent acquisition occurred in December 2016 with the acquisition of Fisher Flooring Supply in Erie, Pennsylvania. The purchase opened new markets for Fishman in Erie and surrounding areas. The business is now operating under the name Fishman Flooring Solutions.

Albert Fishman
Albert Fishman

Nelson Fishman
Nelson Fishman

Ray Colombo
Ray Colombo

Bob Wagoner
Bob Wagner