Four on the floor

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Integrity keeps EF Marburger Fine Flooring open for business since 1913

By Marcia Ellett

Sometimes the more things change the more they stay the same. That can certainly be said of EF Marburger Fine Flooring. The flooring and design company, which moved to its Fishers location in 1990, is known for its unparalleled, often cutting-edge selection of flooring products — including porcelain tile, natural stone, glass, hardwood, cork and bamboo — as well as countertops, home accessories and other design features.

This fourth-generation family business’s philosophy has remained steadfast since opening its doors in 1913: Operates from a place of integrity and respect, and exceed customers’ expectations by delivering exceptional value and A+ customer service.

“I practice the same things my grandfather [founder Eli Franklin Marburger]taught me,” said Ronald R. Marburger, who took over as president of the company in 1979. “What was good in 1913 still applies today. Be good with your product, know more than your competition and provide excellent service.”

He said, “In the early to mid-1900s, most companies were named after their founders [think Ford, Firestone, L.S. Ayres].” The integrity of the company went right back to the owner because his name was on the door.

“When there’s no identity with a company and the people who really run the business, it’s easy to put aside ethics without feeling personally responsible for it.”

Not the case with EF Marburger, which has furnished flooring for thousands of residences and commercial buildings, including Hoosier Grand Casino and St.Vincent Women’s Hospital — seeing each project through from beginning to end. The family name, pride of ownership and sense of responsibility are pervasive.

Ron’s oldest daughter Kim Marburger, who has a degree in interior design from Indiana University and is a project manager on the commercial flooring side of the business, has been with the company almost 30 years and grew up wanting to work alongside her grandfather, Donald K. Marburger, and her dad.

“I can still remember sitting at the kitchen table when I was a child coloring in blueprints … hearing my grandfather tell stories,” Kim said. “We were one of the few companies that was able to stay open during the war [World War II] because we furnished flooring to Fort Harrison.”

Ron’s other daughter Kelly Marburger Novak joined the business 15 years ago as a project manager for residential flooring. With a background in art, she said, “The design aspect appealed to me. It felt like this was where I always belonged.”

A member of the new joint Carmel-Fishers Chamber of Commerce, called OneZone, Kelly is excited for the networking opportunities that it will bring to the business.

In 2005, Ron’s wife, interior designer Karla Shone, joined EF Marburger as a showroom manager and project manager. She’s responsible for selecting new products.

“I’ve always gone to market,” said Karla, who prior to joining the firm owned her own retail store in Zionsville. “It was a natural for me to walk in here and see the potential.”

And the showroom is truly impressive. Walking in the front doors offers a view of just a fraction of the flooring and design displays that whet customers’ visual appetites in the facility boasting in the neighborhood of 47,000 square feet.

The family’s flourish for visual display extends to the horse statue outside, a Fishers landmark familiar to many who frequently travel Allisonville Road.

“On Saturdays people will drive up and take pictures with the horse,” said Kelly.

“So this year we decided to start decorating it,” Ron explained. That means Colts’ blue during football season, lights for Christmas, green garb for St. Patrick’s Day and stay tuned for bunny ears over Easter.

It’s a fitting mascot for a company who’s secret to longevity boils down to horse sense, the ability to make good business decisions.

“If we listen to and educate our clients, provide them with the best possible product, at a fair price, and stay ahead of the future in technology and design,” said Ron, “we will pave the way for the fifth generation to join this firm.”

 

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