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The customer comes first at Baudier’s

Flooring and design center builds on family legacy of quality service, craftsmanship

Long before she lauched her own company, Debra Price watched her grandmother work with color — helping customers pick fabric styles and textures for their upholstered furniture. 

“She would make the room look so inviting, and my paw-paw would make sure the furniture was comfortable and would hold up to any wear and tear,” Price recalls. “Their knowledge together made for a happy customer ….” 

Price’s business, Baudier’s Flooring & Design Co., started on the same corner in Gulfport where her grandparents, Elenora (Chico) and Stephen Baudier Jr., launched S.P. Baudier’s Furniture in 1938. They housed their business in an old wood-and-tin building at 25th Avenue (now Highway 49), and 27th Street, and the couple raised three children in a home directly behind the shop. 

Price worked with her grandparents — repairing, refinishing and upholstering furniture — until her grandmother started referring patrons who needed flooring help to Price and her husband, Mike. 

“Eventually, her customers would ask me to come out and measure and bring some samples,” Price says. “That’s when I decided to get an EIN (Employer Identification Number) and go into the business of selling flooring, since Mike was already installing it.” 

Price started out with a small showroom at the front room of the furniture shop, and Mike taught her how to properly measure and other skills of the trade. 

After Hurricane George caused heavy damage to the building in 1998, Chico and Stephen decided to retire. The original structure was torn down, and the Baudiers’ home was relocated. Price and her husband bought the land, where they built Baudier’s Flooring in 2000. 

“It was so important to us, as a homage to my grandparents, to keep the Baudier name as part of the new business,” Price says. “They’d spent a lifetime teaching us that no matter how big or small the job, customer service and quality of work is what’s important.” 

The business has strived to live up to the standards the Baudier name represents for decades, Price says, adding, “In good times and bad, through hurricanes, fires, personal loss and financial struggles, we continue to grow.” After 18 years, the Prices realized it was time to renovate the building, so they doubled the size of the showroom, increased the office space and moved the warehouse offsite. According to Price, the changes make the showroom much more welcoming and easier to navigate. 

The stock, too, has evolved with changing tastes, and the design center stays up to date with trends and features updated samples in tile, hardwood, vinyl and carpet. Price has noticed that grays, some blue hues and certain shades of green tile are trending, and floating vinyl flooring is dominating much of the market.

“On the Coast, the beachy look is very popular,” Price says — as are a gray marble aesthetic for showers and mosaic and hexagon patterns. 

In general, Price says, “I seem to like putting all the different neutral colors together so that you’re not stuck with all grey or all beige. … Then customers can throw in pops of any color with the neutrals and can change these pops of color easily.” 

Whether customers are remodeling or building something new, Baudier’s helps them achieve their dream homes by working with them from the start, Price says. As patrons pick flooring, shower and backsplash tile colors and more, the business can expertly guide them toward choices that coordinate with what they already have. 

“We listen to our customers and ask them questions to help them pick out what is right for their lifestyle and their taste; we also have a lot of sales and installation knowledge and experience,” Price says. “And last but not least, we treat our customers how we would like to be treated — fairly, honestly and to the best of our ability.” 

Harkening back to her grandparents’ reputation for superior quality and service, Price says her goal is to live up to their legacy. 

“Our hope is that by the end of our job, our customers will have felt that same happiness and satisfaction.” 

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