Sep. 7—WILLIMANTIC — Do you think you’d know the difference between the real deal and an imposter when it comes to flooring or countertops? If you answered “Yes,” you’re in for a very pleasant surprise.
Technology has come a long way, helping homeowners get more bang for their buck without sacrificing aesthetics or quality. What’s more, the engineered materials are proving to be more stable, and are better for the environment by sparing raw materials.
At Design Center East in Willimantic, row after row of synthetic wood flooring and faux- marble countertops, complete with the grooves found in natural wood and the texture of rock, are available to people looking to update their home or business.
Co- owner Michael Weitz, a Mansfield resident, and his partner Mike Dressler, of Willimantic, have been turning people’s remodeling dilemmas into dreams by working with them step by step to ensure they get exactly what they are looking for — at a price they can afford.
Located at 27 Meadow St. in Willimantic, Design Center East specializes in cabinets, countertops and flooring — all versatile enough for whatever space a client is looking to spiff up.
When customers come in unsure just what it is they are looking for, Weitz and Dressler are ready to take the lead.
” We take our knowledge of design and we try to incorporate their ideas,” Weitz said.
The main focus of their business is design, but they also have in-house contractors, hire outside contractors, work with people who have their own contractors or those who wish to do their own installs.
” No product leaves our showroom unless we know where it’s going, so we know they are getting the proper product for their project area,” Weitz said.
All of their seven in- house employees are local and most of their customers are within a 20- mile radius.
Weitz said they always hire people with excellent product knowledge and that being a small operation allows them to pick and choose.
“We need to have people who are more versatile than a box store might need,” he said.
While years ago, synthetic flooring looked, well, like synthetic flooring, technology has come a long way and high- definition photography makes flooring or countertops look real, while embossing makes it feel natural.
Trending these days are shades of gray, but that might not be for everyone, and Weitz said paramount to a successful project is listening to clients.
” The key is understanding what people want,” he said.
To help keep their clients’ costs down, Weitz said they encourage people to work with the space they have and avoid knocking down walls.
” We try to help them put a package together in a timely fashion that can stay within a budget they are comfortable with,” he said.
In these precarious times, like all businesses, Design Center East has felt the sting. But, for them, it’s been manageable.
” We feel good that we are able to keep everyone employed,” he said.
In fact, the problems that have arisen because of the COVID- 19 pandemic are with vendors who are experiencing shortages of supplies, which delays deliveries.
Anyone considering a project for their home or business should keep that in mind, plan ahead and prepare to be patient. ” If they are planning a project for the future,” Weitz said, ” it behooves them to come in early.”
Design Center East is open six days a week, Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. It can be reached at 860- 450- 8442 and the website is designcentereast. com.
Design Center East
Address: 27 Meadow St., Willimantic
Hours: Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Saturday, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Information: 860-450-8442, www.designcentereast.com