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Oxford's Women on the Move: Over 3 Decades of Flooring

Lisa Stout and husband, Mitchell, along with a highly professional team of associates at Stout’s Carpet and Flooring have been assisting the growing needs of Oxonians for the past 32 years.

With an estimated 10,000 jobs, the future looks even brighter for the family-run business. HottyToddy.com’s Steve Vassallo sat down with Lisa Stout for this Q&A:
Steve Vassallo: Lisa, having done business with you dating back to the 1980s, it’s exciting to be interviewing you some 30 plus years later. Where did the time go?
Lisa Stout: Well, when you love what you do, you know what they say: “Time flies when you’re having fun.”
Vassallo: I was attracted to Stout’s initially because of two factors: reasonable pricing and outstanding customer service.
Stout: Thank you for saying that because that’s exactly what we strive for and hope that people see in us. Great customer service is our way of setting ourselves apart from others as we all like a fair price.
Vassallo: The carpet business (and flooring) is not the typical career path for most young couples. How did this happen for you and Mitchell?
Stout: Mitchell’s parents had a flooring store in New Albany, where he worked while attending Ole Miss and pursuing a degree in engineering. During that time, we fell in love with Oxford and decided to take a chance by doing something he was both passionate and knowledgeable about – floors.
Vassallo: In addition to raising a business, you have also been quite busy in raising your family here in Oxford.
Stout: Yes, we raised two daughters who both graduated from Oxford High. Lauren, a UM grad in accounting, now lives in Denver. Lindsey is in her second year of the early-entry pharmacy program. They were both heavily involved in sports. I’ve worn many hats over the years.
Vassallo: You and the business have been a blessing to our community through so many charitable contributions. Care to mention a couple?
Stout: We believe in supporting the community that has supported us throughout these 32 years. We try to get involved as much as possible. There are many ways in this town to help, you just have to dive in.
Vassallo: In today’s housing/condo market, Oxford is on fire. How are new owners choosing between wood floors and carpeting in the society in which we now find ourselves?
Stout: We live such busy lives that most people want the least maintenance possible with the most durability, so the hardwood tends to be their top choice.
Vassallo: I heard this week that in 2017, a record number of small businesses were sold nationwide. Your business appears to grow and grow. How many does Stout’s employ currently?
Stout: We have 12 full-time employees, five to seven installation crews, plus a hardwood sanding and finishing crew.
Vassallo: Shifting gears back to your youth … Did you ever think while growing up in New Albany that you would be such a successful business lady in Oxford?
Stout: Funny that you ask because when Mitchell asked me to marry him, I told him I would, but I didn’t want to work at a carpet store.
Vassallo: What is your opinion regarding natural nailed-down hardwood flooring versus manufactured glue?
Stout: That could be another interview all by itself. Both are great products, but they depend specifically on the application you are using it for.
Vassallo: What is the advantage of doing business with Stout’s versus a nonlocal entity?
Stout: We live locally and shop locally. We’re here if there is a problem. The money that is spent with us is reinvested back into our community.
Vassallo: How do you screen/train installers?
Stout: Most of our installers have been with us a long time, and most of them started out as helpers and then graduated to their own trucks and tools. We also participate with all of our vendors staying on top of all the latest tools and technology.
Vassallo: Describe Oxford’s growth and the demands on your business compared to only five years ago?
Stout: Oxford’s growth is unbelievable, and I continue to be amazed for the previous 32 years at the progression it makes each year. I have added extra salespeople over the years just to keep up with the growth because when you think of floors, I don’t want you to think of anyone but Stout’s.
Vassallo: For those individuals in the midst of new construction, what advice could you share based on your years of experience?
Stout: Floors often get overlooked, but you actually use them more than any other item in the house. And it’s the hardest to replace. My advice is to look at your lifestyle and get the floors that have a durability that fit your family’s needs.
Vassallo: Reflecting back on all those years ago, would you have done anything differently?
Stout: Actually, I don’t think I would change anything. I love my job and the Oxford community. I would like to say one thing, I want to thank all of the many customers that we have had over the years as I cannot stress enough how important great customer service is to me. I also go way out of the way to keep the showroom as up to date as possible so that we can offer all the great choices for floors right here in Oxford!
Lisa Stout and her family have been role models in the Oxford community for a generation. They have impacted so many lives in so many ways and continue to do so. Providing outstanding customer service has only been a part of their many wonderful contributions.

Steve VassalloSteve Vassallo is a HottyToddy.com contributor. Steve writes on Ole Miss athletics, Oxford business, politics and other subjects. He is an Ole Miss grad and former radio announcer for the basketball team. Currently, Steve is a highly successful leader in the real estate business who lives in Oxford with his wife Rosie. You can contact Steve at sovassallo@gmail.com or call him at 985-852-7745.
For questions or comments, email hottytoddynews@gmail.com

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