Small Business from a Small TownA Day in the Life of Tony Eckstein
Tony Eckstein is a flooring installer from the small town of St. Paris, Ohio. As somebody who earns his living through running his own small business, living in a small town can have its ups and downs.
On this overcast February morning, Eckstein pulls out of his home's parking lot to pick up materials for the day's job.
He gathers his material from the local flooring store. Today's pick up was a small roll of carpet and underlayment.
Working out of a van, hauling long rolls of carpet often presents issues. In this case, the back door of the van had to be secured by bungee cords in order for the carpet to fit in the van.
Today's job took place in a residential area in St. Paris. This small house with small rooms meant a short day of work for Eckstein.
Eckstein's job requires multiple trips to and from the van. His typical carpet laying job requires his tool box, carpet stretcher, new carpet, underlayment, a vacuum, and many other items.
A room where carpet is being replaced must be emptied before any work can be done. The door to the room must also be removed in order for Eckstein to be able to properly complete his job.
Once the room is emptied, Eckstein starts by removing the old carpet that is being replaced. This particular job presented the challenge of working underneath a low-hanging shelf. The removal is the quickest part of the process, taking place in just minutes.
"You can tell how long someone has been doing this job by looking at their knuckles" Eckstein said. You can see the damage his knuckles have suffered over 29 years of flooring installation.
His knuckles are not the only part of his body that suffers damage. During this day's job, he cut his finger open, causing it to bleed. Eckstein was not a deterred. He took a quick break to apply a bandage and was right back to work.
The culprit behind the cut on Eckstein's finger was a tack strip. Tack strips, which hold down the carpet along the edges of the room, host numerous sharp points, which can easily cause harm if he loses his focus.
After two and a half hours, the job is finally complete. The difference from the old carpet to the new carpet is tremendous, and Eckstein's skill and expertise is evident in his work.
After a short day's work, Eckstein pulls away from the job before noon. It is a slow time of year, he said, and that often means ending the day early.
Eckstein, 56 years old, is known as a family man. The majority of his free time is spent with his wife, his three children, and his numerous grandchildren.