FCA Network is a buying group for 60 stores around the United States, including the affiliated Floor Covering Associates (FCA) stores, which also are based out of Shorewood. Robertson oversees merchandise selection for the buying group. She visits with flooring manufacturers and at times consults on product development. And, she's always on the lookout for new talent.
"We have a lot of very successful sales people -- women in particular -- who are making over $60,000 a year," she said. "It's a very good profession."
FCA is celebrating its 30th year in business, and Robertson joined the company when it was little more than a year old.
She was hired by owner and founder Robert Hill, when FCA had about a half-dozen employees and one store -- just 200 yards away from the current Shorewood location on Illinois 59.
"We grew our business with repeat and referral customers," Robertson said. "We monitor our customers and where they come from. About 75 percent of our customers are repeat and referral customers."
Today FCA has seven locations in the Chicago area, including a flagship design and furniture store in Naperville.
FCA Network was created 10 years ago to pool FCA's resources with those of other independent stores and increase their collective buying power.
Stores in the group operate under their own names. Most member stores are in the Midwest, but others are as far away as Albuquerque, N.M., and Dover, N.J.
Robertson describes herself as "a pretty tough negotiator," which has served her well in an industry dominated by men. "I know the top executives at the major companies, and I deal with them directly," she said.
And, she knows the value of young talent, noting the opportunity Hill gave her at FCA 29 years ago.
"I was fortunate in that I started at the bottom, and I worked my way up," she said. "There were a lot of opportunities to prove myself."
Okon, B. (2006, November). Flooring group honors local woman. Retrieved November 5, 2006 from the World Wide Web: http://www.suburbanchicagonews.com/heraldnews/business