BY KRISTI FISH | MIRROR REPORTER — Dibling Floor Covering & Interiors has been a fixture at 321 Conant St. for 72 years.
The business, originally owned by Edward H. Dibling and his son, Edward J. Dibling, opened on Allen Street in 1950 before moving to its current location.
Eventually, the business was passed on to the next generation, siblings Beth Rumer, Tom Dibling and Mike Dibling.
Tom retired in 2001, but Mike and Beth can still be found at the store.
“Tom went right from college into this. Beth and I both did some other things; she taught and I worked social service stuff, and then we both came back into the business,” Mike said.
The family has seen the business change a lot since it first opened. Before opening their own shop, Edward H. and Edward J. were installing flooring and working for department stores.
Over time, they expanded their own business to include accessories, not just floors.
“Accessories include wallpaper – which is actually coming back around – blinds, shutters and curtains, and we will do upholstery,” Mike said. “We will do a few countertops throughout the year.”
In recent years, the Dibling staff has seen a change, not just within the business, but in the industry as well. With COVID-19 disrupting the supply chain, the staff has to juggle uncertain timeframes, but Mike said he believes this has helped customers understand that they can’t always fulfill their desire for instant gratification.
“I think the whole world has changed a little bit. COVID has showed us that other things slow stuff down,” Mike said.
In the 1980s, carpet from Georgia might have taken two weeks to reach the shop, whereas now it can sometimes be there within the week. Flooring that is in higher demand, however, could take up to six months from the time of ordering before it can be installed. Customers have learned to be flexible on products and project timelines just like the staff.
The expanded offerings and changes in the industry have allowed the company to grow with its customers, many of whom have been coming to the company because of their own families.
“Parents or grandparents that used us, their kids are using us now,” Mike said.
While they appreciate the repeat, multigenerational customers, they also know sometimes people just happen to stumble upon their business, Mike said.
“Nobody can deny the amount of cars that go on that road out front, but sometimes we’ll get people in who have been driving past us every day on their way to work for 10 years and didn’t notice us until they were stuck at a traffic light,” Mike said.
The Conant Street location has proven itself important over the years. When the business first opened, Mike’s parents moved just three blocks away in order to live within the community where they worked, and his family continues to live within the Maumee and Perrysburg areas.
The Dibling family makes it a point to remain visible in the communities they work in. They have previously chaired the annual Maumee Summer Fair, volunteer and show up for other community events. Mike and his family support the community both for their business and because they believe they have a responsibility to the area.
“I think that small businesses, they have been and will always be the backbone of communities,” Mike said. “When you go to a small business, the person understands that you’re supporting them. There’s a different type of appreciation to customers and that sale.”
Dibling Floor Covering & Interiors is open Monday through Friday 10:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and Saturday 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. at 321 Conant St. For more information, visit diblingfloorcovering.com or call (419) 893-3256.