Starting a new business and a new family at the same time was always going to be hard work – but it's an exciting challenge that has kept Norman Afrin happily busy over the past twelve months as he celebrates the first year of his Stornoway-based business, Afrin Specialist Flooring, in August. Originally from Stornoway, Norman returned to live in Lewis with his wife and young daughter last year, establishing the Afrin Specialist Flooring showroom on Bayhead. And since the beginnings of his own business, Norman recently celebrated the addition of a baby son to his family, both of which are prospering. “Last year we decided to come back up the road to Stornoway, we'd the wee one and another wee one on the way,” Norman said. “It's great to be back with family around us and they've all been very supportive. It is very much a family run business, everybody chips in, helps cover the shop when I'm out fitting for example.” Floor fitting is Norman's speciality with 16 years of experience under his belt on island and offshore, as well as with mainland companies. Norman developed his trade with Carpet World, Stornoway, before moving to the mainland to work with Sharon Leon Carpets and Gavin MacDonald Flooring, both in Inverness. It was then four years fitting floorings off-shore, before family and the call of home saw the return to Stornoway and the establishment of his own company. “The first year has been heavy going, but is always was going to be like that and it's been good to iron everything out and get a system in place,” said Norman. “I think at first we didn't realise how busy we were going to be. Right at the start we secured a big contract at Western Isles Hospital, flooring the stairs and corridor to the maternity ward. That kept things constant for a good while and was a good wee boost for us from the off.” Covering both commercial and private flooring needs, variety, service and quality are the watchwords at Afrin Specialist Floorings. With home floorings available from suppliers such as Westex, Adam, and Cormar Carpets; vinyl tiles from Karndean and Moduleo amongst others; over ten differing options for commercial floorings, and as the only stockists of Kährs Hardwood Flooring, narrowing down what you want could be the only problem. Taking each job on its own merits, the flooring specialists work from the very start with services such as floor preparation, levelling work and concrete floor damp proofing, to the very end finishings of a job, with customer satisfaction very much top of the list. Norman said: “Our customers have been great. The majority of them have known that we were starting out and have been very supportive. “We're now starting to see returning customers as well, and that's a real positive boost to us.”
The positive feedback from private customers visible on the company's Facebook page - search 'N Afrin Specialist Flooring Limited – Stornoway' – stands testament to the workmanship delivered by Afrin Specialist Flooring. And the year old business has also satisfied its commercial clients undertaking further work at Western Isles Hospital, along with the flooring needs of Decor8 Stornoway situated in the former Coffee Pot premises; re-flooring MacTV's offices and editing suites; office work for DR MacLeods and the Comhairle amongst others, and serving Euro Champions, Lewis Pipe Band, with the installation of flooring at the winner's new practice hall. Covering both Lewis and Harris, the company also offers something different with Norman's experience with mainland and offshore fitters coming to the fore. “There's a big difference in some of the techniques and materials used here and those used on the mainland,” he explained. “We're trying to bring those with us, different ways of doing things that haven't been known here before.” “It's been good this first year getting our work out there,” he continued. “It's been hard work but it's still very exciting. “The people we've met, the friends we've made, the customers who have supported us, it's all been so good and we're looking forward to seeing how the business grows in the future.” To find out more about Afrin Specialist Flooring, visit the website at; check out their Facebook page, or call into the Afrins Specialist Flooring showroom on Bayhead, Stornoway.