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Hardwood floors come with a fishing tale

Columnist Jen Koski finds out a lot about the guy who fixed her floor.

Jen's World - Jennifer Koski column sig

A couple months ago, Creative Hardwood Floors sent a guy named Tony to my house to fix a ding on the floors they'd installed a week earlier.

Tony came in and performed magic on this divot in the floor — like you couldn't even tell the ding had ever been there. While he was working, we got to chatting. And then I did what I usually do when I meet someone new: I asked if I could interview him for my Rochester Magazine Random Rochesterite column.

He said sure. I called him a week or two later. And that's when I found out that the guy in the baseball cap who fixed my floor was actually the owner of the company.

Here's a portion of my interview with Tony Horsman. For our full conversation, check out the April issue of Rochester Magazine.

How long have you been with Creative Hardwood?

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I started in March of 2000. My uncle Jim founded the company, and I started as an employee. I was fresh out of college, and my plan was to work there until I got a “real" job.

What did you get your degree in?

Radio broadcasting/sports broadcasting. I’d been interning with KQWB … and when I graduated they offered me another unpaid internship. I declined due to no pay. Uncle Jim had started Creative Hardwood in that same timeframe, so I went to work for him. I thought my max was a year or a year and a half until I found that real job. And then, in 2005, I bought into the company. Over the years, I slowly started buying the other owners out. Amy, my cousin — Jim’s daughter — is also an owner. And Jim still works two days a week doing estimates. He’s semi-retired, but he’s not going anywhere!

You’re from Rochester?

I’m from Chatfield. I was born and raised there, and that’s where we’re raising our family.

Tell me about your family.

My wife, Kelly, and I went to high school together, but we never dated — never even really spoke — in high school. It was a class of 54 people, but we never dated until after we graduated. We’ve been married since 2002. We have two kids. Landon is 11 years old. He’s the laid-back, easygoing one. My daughter, Nora, is 6 going on 18, and she is an outspoken firecracker. She’s the one who’s going to give us a headache in the future!

What would I be surprised to learn about you?

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I won an all-expenses-paid trip to Germany from a hardwood floor manufacturer. It was a contest where you write a story, and they check out your background, and I was chosen. Then they take you over and show you elite style systems of sanding and finishing. It was pretty life changing, to be honest with you, in the way I renewed my passion for the industry.

That’s really cool when you know you’re in the right place.

The same year, I was selected to National Wood Flooring Association’s “40 People Under 40.” … It includes anyone from salespeople to people who work at mills to prefinishing companies to designers, so it was quite an honor.

Are all the floors in your house wood?

Everything but the basement. When we bought our house, the basement wasn’t finished. The previous homeowner had already purchased carpet. I’d said, “Don’t put down carpet! I’ll put the floors in!” But he’d already paid for it, so it went in. But everywhere else, we have wood floors.

What kind?

Red oak on the main floor, stained and with herringbone. European white oak upstairs, hand scraped and wire brushed and with a hard wax oil.

What do you do in your off time?

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Fishing. My son, and my daughter now, too, and I are big into fishing.

Biggest fish you’ve ever caught?

A 50 1/2-inch muskie. I caught it and released it and got a replica made.

Whoa. Where was that?

A fisherman never tells.

Jennifer Koski is associate editor at Rochester Magazine. Her column appears Tuesdays. Send comments to jkoski@rochestermagazine.com .

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