Nov. 15--Tyner family's floor covering company survived recession
Jack Tyner knows what it takes to build a business from the ground up.
For the past 50 years, the local entrepreneur has applied a strong independent work ethic and a positive, common sense approach to growing his family's floor covering company, Regal Distributing Co. Inc.
The results are evident in the company's financial health and strong reputation in an industry that has been hit hard by economic downturn over the past four years, he said.
But Tyner, 84, said the company's story nearly ended just as it was beginning in 1962. That was just after he had made the decision to leave his employer of 16 years, Sullivan Hardware Co., to join with business partner, Benny Frady, to launch Regal.
"I never thought we'd make it," he said. "Those first four months were the hardest I've ever worked in my life -- physically and mentally."
Fate smiled on Regal after one of the company's main suppliers, Ozite, decided to drop its carpet cushion product line.
Tyner said the company offered him the line, but he had to decline. Ozite then came back with a consignment deal that allowed him to pay for it as he sold it.
As luck would have it, his sales began to take off, he said. And when Ozite developed a line of indoor-outdoor carpeting a few years later, Regal was in poll position to sell it across South Carolina.
"Immediately, things just began to happen," Tyner said. "We've been very fortunate to have those kinds of things happen over the years."
Frady later left Regal to operate a successful insurance business.
In 1973, the company moved from its original location at 238 Ezell St. in downtown to a building off Central Street. Regal then moved into the old Spartan Grain Mill in 1990, and in 2004, it relocated to the 47,000-square-foot warehouse that it currently occupies at 2034 N. Church Place.
The company has 14 employees and a vast selection of vinyl, carpet and hardwood flooring products by lines such as Beauflor, Alloc and Berry, as well as tools and supplies by Roberts, Duofast and Personna.
Tyner said the company reacted quickly to this recession by clearing out its old stock, being conservative on new purchases and taking on new lines.
"We've been through recessions before," he said. "We did some things early on to position ourselves to weather this storm ... Once things pick up again, we should be in good shape."
Tyner's son, Jack Tyner Jr., 58, who started working with the company in 1974, became president of Regal in 1998. Both men said they hope the company will remain family-owned.
"It's been great to be able to work alongside my dad for so long," the younger Tyner said. "Not a lot of people get to do that ... He taught me the business, and I still rely on his advice ... He's a well-respected businessman."
The elder Tyner served in the U.S. Army and fought in the Korean War. He also served on the Spartanburg Regional Hospital board and was potentate of the local Shrine Club in 1969.
"I am what I've always wanted to be -- a good family man and a hard worker," the senior Tyner said.
"I'm not rich by the world's standards, but I am what I would call wealthy. I've got my son in the business, and I have a lot of grandkids that I'm proud of. Should I go tomorrow, I know the business is in good shape ... Hard work has never hurt anybody. In order to be successful, you've got to work hard."
For more information, visit: www.regaldistributing.com.
(c)2012 the Spartanburg Herald-Journal (Spartanburg, S.C.)
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