Lifelong wood flooring professional Bob Goldstein has retired.
Goldstein grew up in the industry. "I’m in this business because I was raised in this business ... back then as kids we were pretty much all labor, you did what your dad did!"
He went through the union apprentice program and worked for his father's company until starting his own contracting company in 1970. "He liked to do a job to do it and get it done," Goldstein recalls. "He was an awesome mechanic, but I, on the other hand, didn't want to just do the work, I wanted to sell the product, as well ... To me, it was creativity—making the proverbial silk purse out of the sow’s ear." Goldstein ran his business until he turned it over to his son Todd in 1996, having had major knee surgery and back issues.
After Todd took over the business Goldstein embarked on a career that ended up spanning both distribution and manufacturing sales and training. He also taught vocational school in the evening for more than a decade and was a frequent instructor at wood flooring industry schools.
Goldstein worked in sales and service for Vermont Natural Coatings for the last seven years, but health issues from a major car accident in 2019 led him to make the reluctant decision to retire this spring. "I’ve got more zippers in my body than a motorcycle jacket," the motorcycle enthusiast notes wryly. Goldstein has written for WFB about his recovery from cancer, as well.
Goldstein particularly cherished teaching and says he tried to change the culture from "back in the day" when wood flooring pros didn't want to share their knowledge in fear of the competition learning what they knew. "That's the worst way you can look at it, because if you don't pass on the knowledge, it's going to die," he notes. "I was always willing to show someone ... I really enjoyed that part of it. To this day, I get calls every week from guys I taught 20 years ago. That's a great feeling of satisfaction."
Goldstein won't be completely absent from the industry: Look for him to continue sharing his decades of wood flooring expertise in the pages of WFB. He can also be reached via email here.