Dennis Braia, owner of Abbey Carpets By Braia, 408 E. Victory Way, stands Friday in the back room of his business. Braia moved his carpet and flooring store from California to Craig when he built a ranch in Hamilton. When not working at the store, Braia said he enjoys hunting, riding motorcycles and spending time with his grandchildren.

Photo by Joshua Gordon

Dennis Braia, owner of Abbey Carpets By Braia, 408 E. Victory Way, stands Friday in the back room of his business. Braia moved his carpet and flooring store from California to Craig when he built a ranch in Hamilton. When not working at the store, Braia said he enjoys hunting, riding motorcycles and spending time with his grandchildren.

My Life, My Words: Dennis Braia

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“We opened here June 17, 2002, nine years ago. I’ve had a real good go of it. We specialize in carpet, hardwood, vinyl, tile, granite countertops, that’s pretty much it. We focus on everything that’s in our showroom floor here. We’ve got thousands of tile samples to show people, thousands of carpet samples, hardwood samples. There’s not one item that we really go after, but we sell mostly carpet here.

“People in general have been very supportive of us here. I get a considerable amount of hits out of Meeker. Meeker’s been very good to me. It seems like with the recession times, Meeker has supported us highly. Savery and Baggs, (Wyo.), they’ve been good to me. Craig people, they’ve been good as well, has as well. Steamboat, I gave up hitting that market several years ago. They’d come over, they’d shop me and then they go back and spend their money in their town, and that’s the way it should be.

“It can be a rollercoaster. We just finished up a big project in Meeker with the hospital. We did the hospital several times over, a new project here, new project there, we just finished that up. We’re up for a big bid in Aspen, and we’re just hoping the public keeps coming in. We’ve got to get them to open up their wallets, though.

“I’ve been in the (carpet) business 40 years. I was in Sonora, Calif., and I moved out here åbecause I built a ranch in Hamilton. I decided to move my store out here, and it was a good move. I’m very happy, just trying to get through the recession and enjoy life.

“I’ve got three grandkids. My granddaughter is 18, and my two grandboys are 17. Usually every summer, we get them all up here. My granddaughter might be coming up pretty soon and we think the grandboys will follow. They live in California. They keep me running when they’re up, they keep me going.

“Hunting is No. 1 with the grandkids when they’re out here, and then riding snow machines in the winter and motorcycles in the summer. I’ve got a Harley-Davidson. It’s a special model, number two made out of a series. It’s a Fat Boy and I’m real, real proud of it. I used to ride with my boy when he was living here and then he moved. The weather out here is so unpredictable that I’m real picky when I take it out.

“I love living out here. I wouldn’t trade it for anything. It’s beautiful year-round and the snowfalls are a lot lighter than California. They used to be three-feet per snowing and that got to be too much. I’d lived all my life in that. Northern California, we’d get a three-day snowfall, three feet, and I shoveled that. Here I use a tractor.”

— Interview by Andy Bockelman

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