Moffat County Locals: Tom, Jessie Cramer ‘stressed but blessed’ between flooring business, calling by higher power
When Craig couple Tom and Jessie Cramer put their talents together, there’s little they can’t accomplish, and after seeing each other through some trying times, everyday work concerns rarely seem that daunting.
The owners of Cramer Flooring work in tandem with their clients, each of them putting their best foot forward in their particular skill sets. No two clients are the same in the look they want to provide their home or business, how they want it done or the amount of money they’re ready to spend.
“Our strength is asking a lot of questions, finding people’s budget and then finding the best product to fit all that together,” Tom said.
Tom is quick to tell people on the sales floor that he’s color-blind — not literally — when it comes to picking out the best hues of carpet and tile and refers them to his wife for design know-how.
“Most men are somewhat color-blind or shade-blind, and I’ve always just agreed when she points out when something is a special kind of color,” he said with a laugh.
Beyond the surface appeal, finding good flooring is about durability, cleaning ease and similar factors.
“You want something that’s going to last,” Jessie said. “We’re vested in it, so we’re not just trying to sell them something. We want something that works for them. If you go to Home Depot, you can buy floors cheap, but you don’t know that they’re cheap and they’re not going to last.”
Jessie’s visual style is apparent throughout the decor of the business showrooms with specialty lighting fixtures, among other pieces of flair, and the couple’s cabin at Wilderness Ranch also bears her design hallmarks.
“I build aspen furniture, build stuff out of wooden pallets, I’ve hauled saws up there on a sled, all kinds of stuff,” she said.
One ironic part of the rustic structure north of Craig — after owning it for several years, the Cramers have yet to install any permanent flooring.
“We’ve had to finish all the walls and ceiling before we can work on floors, so we’ve had scaffold in there for four years,” she said. “Every time somebody comes in there, they laugh at us — ‘You’re flooring people and you don’t have floors!'”
On the other end of the business spectrum, Jessie informs customers that her husband is the one to go to for technical expertise and installation.
While Tom has worked in the flooring industry since he was a teenager in the early 1980s, it was in 2007 that the couple officially hung out their shingle. Nearly three years ago was when they moved from their Yampa Avenue location around the corner to their current premises on Craig’s main street, Victory Way.
“We’re very busy, and we wish there was more of us sometimes,” Jessie said. “We call it stressed but blessed.”
Cramer Flooring is a destination for those looking to spruce up their homes, but it also sees numerous visitors with something else on their mind who are in need of help.
Tom regularly counsels community members who are struggling with substance abuse addiction, as well as individuals’ family members who don’t know how to help them.
The advice comes from personal experience. This year, Tom marks 15 years clean after an addiction to meth that amounted to some dark times.
However, his life on drugs wasn’t all bad. Or at least, he didn’t see it that way at the time, and that was part of the problem.
“A lot of these younger people, when they’re going through it, they’re having fun. Cops are bothering them, and that’s the nuisance to them,” he said. “They don’t realize the consequences of health and family and destroying everything you come in contact with. You don’t reason things like that. Most people think if they’re addicted to it, there’s no way out, but you can get off of it and live a productive life.”
It was shortly after Tom kicked his habit in 2003 that he began dating Jessie, and not long after that, he relapsed.
“I was clean, I relapsed, I went to jail, and she was like, ‘what the hell is going on with this guy?'” he said.
Getting his act together was more important than ever at that point, and Tom is still thankful for getting the opportunity to turn his life around for good.
“The courts here allowed me to go to the Salvation Army rehab in Grand Junction. That was six months. I graduated, and three days later, we got married,” he said.
He credited faith in God, as well as his significant other, with staying on track.
Balancing the workload of his own business, in addition to being a confidant for people in need of support, can be difficult at times, though it’s something he wouldn’t trade for anything.
“This community has heard my story, seen me in the paper when I was messing up, seen when I got clean, and they’ve supported and rallied behind us the whole way,” he said. “It’s one of the most caring communities that I’ve been associated with. I love it.”
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