Foyers and Beyond Custom Flooring: Donna Bishop

When Donna Dean Bishop decided to open Foyers and Beyond Custom Flooring in 2009, she was leaning on more than 30 years of experience in the flooring business. Even though the economy was taking a big hit, she decided the time for entrepreneurship was then or never.

“It was a huge leap of faith, especially right in the middle of that stinking recession,” she said. “But I wanted to be my own boss, and knew I could do this.”

Bishop’s fast-talking, upbeat personality contributes to the type of store the she runs: a flooring boutique in downtown Franklin that caters to the individual’s interior design needs. The owner says she places a special emphasis on customer relations—in part because referrals are a large component of Foyers and Beyond’s success, but also because Bishop loves people.

“A big part of this business is working with designers and customer referrals,” she said. “I’m a people person, and I just love what I do.”

Foyers and Beyond offers a sweeping slate of services, including wall-to-wall carpet, hardwood, area rugs, tile, free in-home estimates and more. The company also owns a Franklin workroom that produces custom area rugs and runners for hallways and stairs.

Bishop holds a sisal rug with dark leather trim, a popular sample that rests on one of the brightly painted walls lined with display racks.

“We probably have 1,000 area rug samples that fall into every price point,” she said. “We also work with trims like wide cotton bindings, leather, surging and suede to produce in-house rugs. It’s our forte.”

Bishop says that since her opening, she’s made a point to carry unique products that customers might have seen in the glossy interior design publications.

“We offer wool and sisal products you don’t see at other flooring stores, like that New Zealand wool material behind you,” she said.

She points to a large blueprint covering a table, a “takeoff” she’s been working on for a customer.

“We use a blueprint and begin working within a budget to pick what flooring, paint and carpet should be used,” she said. “People are often surprised with what they can get within their budget. Just because I’m in downtown Franklin doesn’t mean I’m more expensive!”

Bishop also partners with local interior designers, contractors and custom homebuilders on projects.

“We’ve developed great relationships and referrals. It’s amazing how the local people make a point to support this little downtown square,” she said.

Bishop cultivates these relationships, welcoming anyone interested to take a seat on Foyers and Beyond’s Main Street bench. She can often be found sitting outside her store, surrounded by other small business owners and friends—and usually Herbert Dean, her 84-year-old father who visits every day.

“He’s sort of a fixture around here,” she said. “You know, a lot of people just come in here to talk. It’s a happy store. We love what we do, and I think that it shows.”

The Nashville native says one of the best parts of owning the business is the downtown merchants around her.

“In the last two-and-a-half years I’ve met local people who have become my dearest friends,” she said. “The relationships I’ve formed with the other merchants have been just incredible.”

To learn more about Foyers and Beyond Custom Flooring, visit the store at 502 W. Main Street or its website at www.foyersandbeyond.com.