Carpet dealer wants to tap sports fans CARROLL COUNTY FARM/BUSINESS


February 04, 1993|By Mary Gail Hare | Mary Gail Hare,Staff Writer

Sports fans can transform a family room floor into a football field, baseball diamond or basketball court while their purchases help keep Carroll Transit rolling.

D. L. "Murph" Dykes, owner of Carpet Knights Interiors in Eldersburg, has pledged 10 percent of the profits from sales of Fantasy Fields Etcetera to the private, nonprofit agency, which provides transportation for the county's elderly and disabled residents.

Mr. Dykes' donation and several others from the community will help Carroll Transit deal with its deficit, said Linda Boyer, executive director.

Carroll Transit offers reduced-price tickets to senior centers, handicapped and low-income people. Its vans also take medical-assistance patients to doctor appointments.

"I read about Carroll Transit's money problems, and I am aware of what good they do for the county's elderly and disabled," said Mr. Dykes, who opened his business about eight years ago. "This is one way to help."

The Procarpet collection, available only at Carpet Knights Interiors, features team logos on a carpet background of the team's colors. Any sport is fair game, although football seems to be the most popular so far.

"Last year, the Washington Redskins generated the most sales," he said. "This year, it's the Dallas Cowboys.

"Of course, the Orioles are always popular in this area."

The company, which recently made a rug for the Baltimore Colts Marching Band, can also re-create high school and college logos.

A 6 1/2 -by-13-foot "field" carpet retails for about $2,300 and takes several weeks to deliver.

"Every detail is cut out by a computer and then painstakingly assembled by hand," Mr. Dykes said.

For fans with less spending power, 18-by-24-inch mats with sports logos are available for $8.

Area recreation centers and PTAs could sell the mats for fund-raising projects, Mr. Dykes said.

"That could also generate money for Carroll Transit," he said. "A dealership in Philadelphia helped one agency raise $10,000 with Eagles mats."

Mr. Dykes became a distributor of the line in May and now has 23 dealers on the East Coast carpeting homes and businesses with Fantasy Fields. He will donate a percentage of the profit from local sales, which he expects to take off, he said.

"Now, with the dealership network set up, I can concentrate on retailing here," he said. "It's not everyone's thing, but it's great for people who are fanatical about their team."

The line is not limited to sports themes and can include company logos. The "etcetera" in Mr. Dykes' own logo will soon mean sporty home furnishings, window coverings and linens.

Mr. Dykes said he hopes other county businesses follow his lead and lend a hand where needed.

"We know we can't make a big dent in the problem by ourselves," he said. "So, we are challenging other merchants to do the same. Everyone should realize this [transit] system helps get customers to them."

Mr. Dykes has not set a dollar limit on his contribution, which he will continue for 60 days.

"We know what Carroll Transit needs," he said. "We are not sure, in this economy, what we can do. But, let's get together as a community and try."

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