When a handshake meant something; a 90th birthday tribute to Gibson’s Carpet Gallery founder

Combined image: L-R: Edna and Gary Gibson, founders and owners of Gibson's Carpet Gallery sit together in this photo combined with an aerial photo showing the former Gibson's Carpet Gallery location in St. George, Utah, circa 1989 | Photo courtesy of Gerry Gibson, St. George News

FEATURE — Before electronic filing systems were an important business tool, when a handshake still meant something and cellphones didn’t exist, Gary Gibson and his wife, Edna, opened a carpet store in St. George. While the store has changed with the times, the family’s emphasis on customer service and quality products continues today with the Gibsons’ son and grandson.

For more than three decades, Gibson Carpet Gallery (also known as Gibson’s Flooring) was the go-to choice for custom flooring in St. George for homeowners and construction businesses. At the center of it all was Gary Gibson, a man celebrated by his family as an honest and hardworking businessman who found success in a growing town.

L-R: Edna and Gary Gibson, founders and owners of Gibson’s Carpet Gallery. | Photo courtesy of Gerry Gibson, St. George News

Gary Gibson was born and raised in Hurricane, his son Gerry Gibson said. His family moved to California towards the end of World War II, and Gary Gibson stayed there until the mid-1970s when he returned to St. George.

Though he worked in other industries, Gary Gibson found his passion in the flooring industry and worked as a carpet and flooring installer for many years, Gerry said of his dad. After a car accident left Gary with back problems that required surgery, he and his wife decided to open their own carpet store.

The couple purchased Lane’s Carpet Gallery, a small flooring stoor located in the St. George industrial area. That was the first small version of what would become Gibson’s Carpet Gallery.

Over time Gary Gibson grew the store into a large warehouse and showroom that not only housed rolls of carpet but was also the site of family birthday parties.

“When I went to work there in 1990,” Gerry Gibson said, “there were swamp coolers in the showroom and we had rotary phones.”

Gerry recalled how the carpet would soak up the moisture from the swamp coolers in the summer and emit humidity as they warmed in the hot climate.

“It was really hard working in there in the summertime it was so hot,” he said.

Eventually they got air conditioning in the showroom and made improvements to the warehouse to keep up with demands.

“We started getting storage racks and then more racks and more racks and we kind of grew into the warehouse,” Gerry said. “At one time we were very busy.”

Gibson’s first big account was with Ence Construction, he said, and then for almost 15 years, Gibson’s Carpet Gallery did all of the flooring for homes in the SunRiver St. George community.

During their three-plus decades in business, Gibson’s Carpet Gallery worked with many of the busiest contractors in Southern Utah, as well as individual homeowners.

Gerry Gibson poses next to a wall of carpet samples holding a picture of the former Gibson’s Carpet Gallery location. St. George, Utah, May 14, 2018 | Photo by Hollie Reina, St. George News

The store witnessed a lot of growth and change in the formerly small community where everyone knew their neighbor. Gerry said there were times before the store had a paper filing system that his dad would make a deal on a handshake, then take measurements and install the carpet in a customer’s house.

“I know a lot of them never got billed,” Gerry said, adding that it was probably costly for them in the end. However, he added that his father believed in the honesty of people and most of them would show up and pay what they owed.

It was a lesson in business that Gary Gibson taught his son … one that Gerry still holds dear today.

“Everything I learned about the carpet business, I learned from my dad,” he said. “I just followed what he did and grew from there.”

And though the business had its ups and downs, Gerry said there was never a moment where he or his dad wanted to turn back.

“It was good working with him that’s for sure,” Gerry said through tears. “It’s hard to work without him now.”

Gibson’s Carpet Gallery officially closed in January. Gary Gibson will turn 90 on June 3, and Gerry hopes to pay tribute to his father for his years of hard work and impact on the community.

Impact like sponsoring softball teams for kids and adults for nearly 30 years. Gary Gibson loves Southern Utah and has always enjoyed being involved in community sporting events, Gerry said, adding that he particularly enjoyed sponsoring the young kids who were just starting out and watching them as they grew through the sport.

The family business tradition continues though. Gerry Gibson and his own son continue to operate a small flooring company known as Gibson’s Houzz of Floors out of a warehouse near Costco. Clients are taken mostly by appointment.

To learn more about Gibson’s Houzz of Floors or set an appointment call  435-673-2607.

Written by HOLLIE REINA, St. George News.

• S P O N S O R E D   C O N T E N T  •

Resources

  • Gibson’s Houzz of Floors | Address: 677 N. 3050 E., Suite 8, St. George | Telephone: 435-673-2607.

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Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2018, all rights reserved.

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