When we visited Bruce Good at his store, The Oriental Carpet, he was hurting. But the cause was not lugging around any one of the 4,000 rugs he stocks. Rather, it was his passion for ice hockey, which he plays five or more evenings a week. “I got taken down hard,” he says, “and shouldn’t have tried to break the fall. Now my neck and fingers are pretty jammed.”
The pain doesn’t keep him from the floor of his store on Santa Cruz Ave., which he bought four years ago, especially during the big annual sale that runs through September. He’s at home around rugs, which have been a constant much of his adult life.
“I moved to the Bay Area from Chicago after high school and went to beauty school, working part time for a rug dealer in Berkeley,” he explains. “For 10 years or so I split my time 50/50 between doing hair and the rug business.
“Color has always been my specialty, so it was an easy transition to go from hair color to rug color. Instead of making people’s hair look good, I made their homes look good.”
Bruce, who also lives in Menlo, makes trips to India, Pakistan, and Nepal to buy the handmade rugs he sells. “Right now 40 percent of our rug sales are contemporary in design, which is amazing to me because we’re called the Oriental Carpet, which suggests traditional rugs.” He also take custom orders for rugs.
The annual sale features rugs at as much as 65 percent off of list price. “The sale rugs are in three categories — trade-in rugs, rugs that I got particularly good deals on during my last buying trip, and rugs that haven’t sold for whatever reason.”
Like the beauty business, Bruce is energized by the rug business because it’s rarely the “same old, same old.” “Every day I get to meet a new person and/or a new house. So every day is different. It’s the opposite of the movie Groundhog Day, and that’s what makes it fun.”