About FCA Network

Our History

"The roots of true achievement lie in the will to become the best that you can become."

Floor Covering Associates, Inc. (FCA) was founded in 1976 as a single store in Shorewood, Illinois that supplied carpet and vinyl flooring to custom home builders. Steady growth over the last 30 years has resulted in the addition of company owned locations, partnership locations and licensed stores. Now, FCA is one of the top 20 retail floor covering operations in the country, with corporately owned locations in the Chicago area that do upwards of $40 million in sales per year.

In 1998, FCA Network was formed with the purpose of providing independent retailers the opportunity to take advantage of FCA's successful marketing, merchandising and sales generating programs, while still maintaining their autonomy. With continuing manufacturer consolidation and competition, independent retailers need an edge that will differentiate them from their competition.

Let us provide you with the tools and the support that will maximize your profits, increase your sales and improve your margins. Join FCA Network and Simplify Your Life.

Meet The Team

Olga Robertson

President

As a young girl, raised in a lower-middle class family with a strong work ethic; Olga simply had no excuse for not working hard and taking her education seriously. The oldest of four children, Olga was born in Naples, Italy and immigrated to the U.S. with her parents when she was a child because they wanted to make a better life for themselves and their family. Her dad worked at the steel mill and her mom worked at home. One thing Olga's father always said to her, which she never really understood until she was in the workplace, was to "not expect something for nothing." Olga's mother, the disciplinarian and the nurturer, always said Olga could be anything she wanted to be. So at an early age Olga knew that if she worked hard and applied herself, she could make more money than her father. Olga learned the important lesson that success required discipline, a lot of determination and the right opportunities. The American Dream was available for anyone who truly wanted it.

In 1978 Olga was fortunate enough to be hired by Bob Hill, the owner of Floor Covering Associates. Bob recognized her talents and work ethic early on and gave her many opportunities to learn and grow. After more than 25 years in this industry, Olga earned the leadership role as President of FCA Network, a licensed dealer buying group headquartered in Shorewood, Illinois, with responsibility for business development, marketing and merchandising. She is also very proud to have recently celebrated 40 years with FCA and Bob Hill.

Olga currently resides in Joliet near her beautiful daughter Michelle and her two adorable grandchildren Maya & Alex.

Bob Hill

Founder

Bob Hill, founder of the company, opened his first FCA store on December 6, 1976. He had just turned 40.

Back then, it was a different world: Wall-to-wall carpet was the rage. Builders carpeted every room in every new home, even the kitchen. Buyers of existing homes covered up hardwood flooring as if it was a disgrace to walk on it.

Dalton, Georgia, the world center of tufted carpeting, was home to several hundred carpet mills with such long-established names as Lees, Bigelow, Mohawk, Alexander Smith, Philadelphia, Masland, Karastan, Barwick, World, Galaxy, Coronet, Queen, Cabin Crafts, and many more. There were lots of manufacturers to welcome a new carpet retailer.

What’s more, there were almost no barriers to entry for a new business. Anyone could sell carpet. You needed only a name, a storefront and some samples, and you could be in business. If you had no credit, you’d pay cash and buy from distributors like Carson’s and Tri State Supply. If you had credit, the mills would open you up with a $10,000 credit line and give you cash terms of 5% 30 days; 4% 60 days and net 61 days.

As for competition, in addition to hundreds of mom and pop stores, there were two big regional carpet companies, Carpetland USA and New York Carpet World, both of which advertised regularly in newspapers and on TV, as did the big department stores. (Dupont 501 nylon, installed for $5.99/yd with cushion, was usually the loss-leader.) There were no big box stores like Home Depot or Lowes. So the ads also had the effect of sending buyers to smaller local stores as well.

When he began the company, Bob Hill believed that the “all carpet” fad would fade and that hardwood, tile, rugs and other products would eventually become popular again. Imagining a bigger future for his business, he decided to keep “carpet” out of the name, and to call it Floor Covering Associates, later shortened to FCA.

Finding a storefront was his biggest problem. There was simply no retail space available anywhere within a 40-mile radius at any price, so he ended up renting the back end of a metal warehouse building in the middle of a cornfield located between Shorewood and Plainfield just outside of Joliet, Illinois. This accident proved to be lucky because the area’s largest custom cabinet maker was merely 150 feet across the parking lot, and customers building new homes would drive out to select their cabinets and then walk across the parking lot to visit FCA and see what carpet they were offering.

Business boomed. Six months later a salesman who had previously worked for Hill asked to open up an FCA store in Kankakee, Illinois. This was followed by another store in Bloomington then Bolingbrook, Naperville, Rockford, Belvedere, Lombard, St. Charles, Saginaw, Michigan, Canton and Akron, Ohio and Merrillville, Indiana.

By 1990, operating a dozen stores, Hill decided that the time had come to rethink the business format. Consumers were finally buying hardwood flooring again, plus area rugs, ceramic tile and sheet vinyl. He not only had builder clientele, but retail and contract as well. Bursting at the seams, he decided that he needed more space to display the many new floor covering products, so he invested in larger format locations. His first super store was 20,000 sq ft; the next was 40,000 sq ft. He then made a tough decision to close all of the smaller stores and concentrate exclusively on large format stores in class A locations. The new plan worked.

FCA is a company that was created around a new idea, and new ideas are still at the core of company’s growth. The FCA Design Center doesn’t just sell furniture and draperies; it offers the customer design expertise in every aspect of home decorating.

FCA Network which was spun off in 1998 is now celebrating its 20th Anniversary. It is not just a buying group. It is an ever-expanding group of independent retailers, stretching from New Jersey to New Mexico. Their members are benefiting from FCA’s experience, sales strategies, marketing know-how, proprietary software and influence in the marketplace. They know the FCA strategies lead to success.

"We've come a long way from that cornfield," says Bob Hill, "and the best part is that we still have an exciting future before us. There is lots of room for growth."

Margie Corcoran

Account Manager

Growing up in a family of four children we were taught Margie at an early age the value of money and everyone was expected to help out. She did chores every day and learned how to take care of herself and others. Once Margie turned sixteen she started working retail after school and on weekends to afford new clothes and extras. She learned how to talk with customers and staff during that time. Margie had worked in many fields from retail, insurance, dispatcher in a trucking firm and working in the library system where she did everything from human resources to researching legal issues. She worked in human resources and events planning at a local casino before coming to FCA.

Not too long after starting at FCA Margie moved upstairs to the corporate offices as a receptionist and started answering calls from FCA customers, vendors as well as FCA Network members. When she was approached by Olga to take a position with Network, Margie knew immediately it was a great opportunity. She watched and learned how Olga handled everything and anything and since Margie already knew most of the members she took the job. One of the things Margie loves about Network is Olga’s approach to prospective dealers... "It's not about spending your money," one of the very values Margie learned at an early age.

She started out receiving and shipping samples, handling phone calls from dealers and entering products into our system. Over time Margie became the events planner for FCA Network's annual convention and coordinated logistics with the hotel as well as banquet services. Before long, Margie was offered a position as Network Accts Mgr. and gladly accepted the responsibility giving her the opportunity to go on the road and visit our members. She checks their samples, interacts face-to=face with members and sometimes even re-arranges their showroom. Margie explains, "I want to make sure they have everything they need to make their lives a little easier."

Liz Rivera

Product Manager

What started out as a summer job before college, turned into a fulfilling career in flooring. Liz began her career at a local Carpet One store doing data entry and showroom upkeep. She worked there as she made her way through college, increasing her responsibilities as time went by. She began working the sales floor and passing leads on to the full-time sales associates. Liz's multi-tasking skills were in full swing, as she was working full time and going to school full time. It only made sense for Liz to move into the builder division. She quickly learned to measure new construction homes, order all the flooring materials and facilitate the installation. Liz reflects, "there were lots of balls to keep in the air, but I enjoyed it."

Liz eventually graduated from Northern Illinois with a Bachelor’s degree in Business and left the flooring company to pursue a career in business. After all, flooring was just her "get through college" job. However, soon Liz found this change was not as satisfying for her. Six months later she called and asked for her job back in the builder division. It was then that Liz realized flooring was her passion. Over the years, Liz has had positions in retail, builder, big box retail, and as a carpet fiber rep. Now she is product manager/buyer for Floor Covering Associates and FCA Network.

All of Liz's experiences have prepared her for what she does today. Each FCA Network staff member wears many hats and has to evaluate situations from several different viewpoints: buyer, merchandiser, retailer, salesman and consumer. And Liz's ability to toggle back and forth is why she is so good at what she does and one of the biggest reasons why she adds value to every members' businesses.

At FCA Network, we are focused on our members' success. Reach out and talk to us to learn how we cater ourselves to your unique flooring business. Being a member of FCA Network is more than getting great margins. FCA Network makes your business better. With FCA Network you can simplify your life, have more fun, AND make more money.