ounded in 1937, Galleher is the oldest floor-covering distributor in Southern California. Since our humble beginnings in a small warehouse in south central Los Angeles, we have grown into a strong organization with 18 locations in three states and over 190 employees.
Prior to World War II, wood flooring was the primary flooring product used in homes being built in the suburbs close to downtown LA. Places like Huntington Park, Lakewood and Inglewood were the growing cities at the time. Burt Galleher, the original owner of the company, saw this opportunity and began his mission to supply hardwood flooring to the burgeoning housing market in Southern California.
During the 1960’s the popularity in wood flooring declined due to the introduction of inexpensive mass-produced carpeting and easy care residential vinyl tiles. At that point, Galleher began to sell hardwood lumber and the materials used to make the flooring in truck beds.
In 1980, nearly a decade after Burt Galleher passed away; his family sold the company to a long time supplier, The Horner Flooring Company based in Dollar Bay Michigan. Kenneth Hamar had purchased Horner Flooring in 1957 and his two sons, John and Edward, were running the company at the time. With evidence that wood flooring was beginning a return to popularity, the new owners began to explore ways to grow the business. By becoming more aggressive in the market and adding new product lines, sales began to increase at a healthy pace. By 1985, it was clear that flooring would be the foundation for the future. Galleher sold off the portion of the business that dealt with truck body lumber and moved from south central Los Angeles to a much larger facility in Santa Fe Springs, CA.
In 1986, the owners of Horner Flooring decided to consolidate ownership interests in the different companies they controlled. Edward Hamar, a principal owner of Horner, and his family bought out the other owners of Galleher.
Jeff Hamar, Edward’s oldest son, who had been active in the company since 1980, became President. His other son, Todd, who had worked for the company since 1985 continued with the company. Sales in the mid 1980’s were approximately $5 million dollars.
The company began to expand aggressively and added additional products and suppliers to its offering. Sales began to grow rapidly. In 1987, the company started a company that would manufacture custom parquet flooring. In 1989, Galleher expanded in to the San Diego market and opened a branch in that area.
In 1996, the company launched a new strategy of opening branches in the greater Los Angeles area. Over the next three years, facilities were opened in Van Nuys, Inglewood, Pasadena, and Irvine. In 1998, the company entered the Arizona market and established a facility in Phoenix.
In 1999, with sales over $50 million dollars, Galleher considered various future growth strategies. At that time, the decision was made to move beyond hardwood flooring and become a full line floor-covering distributor selling vinyl, ceramic tiles and laminate flooring. The company focused on additional market segments including retail floor covering stores, design centers and commercial flooring contractors.
In 2001, Galleher developed a hardwood flooring manufacturing facility near the Santa Fe Springs headquarters complete with a highly sophisticated and integrated prefinishing line. Galleher actually created the first line of hand scrapped prefinished engineered flooring to be sold in the United States. Today the manufacturing division makes custom, parquet and custom plank flooring in a wide range of styles, textures and species. Our finish line continues to be state of the art and can produce products in a variety of colors, effects and topcoats.
In 2004, the company opened a location in Oxnard, CA. In addition, the company moved into larger facilities in Van Nuys, Inglewood and Irvine because growth in those locations made the original facilities inadequate.
Sales growth has continued every year and the company reached sales of $118 million in 2005. In January 2007, at the top of the housing market, Galleher was sold to a large international company based in Tokyo, Japan. In 2008, Galleher expanded into Northern California through the acquisition of Floor Service Supply. The two FSSCO branches, in San Jose and Sacramento, are now part of the Galleher family. The following year Galleher expanded operations into Nevada by opening a branch in Las Vegas. The financial crisis and the depression in the housing industry created huge challenges for Galleher and similar companies beginning in 2007. The difficult times continued and in April 2010, the new owners of Galleher decided to exit the business. Jeff and Todd Hamar repurchased the company and established a new strategy to respond to the difficult business environment.
Utilizing the inherent strengths of Galleher including outstanding employees, excellent customer relationships, strong vendor partners and great products the “new” Galleher was in an enviable position because of the remarkably strong financial resources that dwarfed most of our competitors. Galleher began to add even more lines, recruited top talent from within the industry and significantly increased inventories. In November 2010, Rick Coates, the General Manager of Galleher’s largest competitor joined the company in an ownership position. Sales began to grow significantly and Galleher moved quickly and decisively to grow its market share. In the summer of 2012, Galleher saw another big jump in sales when their largest competitor, Golden State Flooring went out of business.
Galleher is ranked among the top 25-flooring distributors in the US and is the frequent recipient of recognition from suppliers and industry associations. The Company’s dedicated employees command years of professional experience and the latest business technologies to focus on excellence in service, relationships, and value.
Galleher is well positioned to expand and grow its business today with the leadership of Jeff Hamar (President), Todd Hamar (SVP), Rick Coates (SVP), and Ray Iodice (VP Finance & CFO), along with nearly 25 managers and supervisors. The Company follows the values that guided Galleher in its early years. Trust, honesty and doing the right thing for the customer have secured a legacy that will last long into the future.