One sure fact about the flooring market in Hawaii is that it is very competitive and the choices seem to be never ending. There are a multitude of retailers, products and installers to choose from. Oftentimes salespeople don’t help, either. Many of them have little or no product knowledge and may be coming at you with confusing facts, figures and pressure to buy. It’s enough to make someone stick with their 20-year-old carpet just a little longer.

But there is help. If you are building new, remodeling or just freshening up, Shirley Pai Hilton of Pacific Imports International would like to help you with some unbiased information on products and installation, so that you can make the right choice for the person who matters — you!


Hilton says that the first thing to remember is to always buy quality in your price range. The old adage of getting what you pay for applies doubly in a competitive market. Vendors will try to get your attention and money by offering an amazingly low price, but that’s because they didn’t pay much for it either.

What has usually been sacrificed is hardiness and longevity. What good does it do if you have to buy another floor in just a few years? No one is saying to purchase a real wood floor when you can’t afford one, but shop for a good quality laminate to give you years of satisfaction. Always look for a good warranty on materials; about 25 years for home use should be right.

Another piece of advice from Hilton is to always look for integrity in the company you are dealing with. You may have a written contract, but good customer service is usually not one of the listed contractual obligations. Who are the owners and what are their backgrounds? The Better Business Bureau is one place to start, but also ask your friends and family and request past customer references. You can do your own cost-free sleuthing with a quick check on Google or Hoohiki as well.


It also is interesting to note that good, knowledgeable salespeople are a direct reflection of the company’s openness and attention to detail. That person should be able to offer you good information that will help you make an informed decision. Always walk away from high pressuring, badgering salespeople who call or text you incessantly. They definitely don’t have your best interest at heart.

And Shirley says that even before you venture out into the Hawaii flooring forest, get a basic education by attending her Wood and Stone Flooring 101 seminar, now held monthly because of popular demand. The 90-minute session has been attended by hundreds of Hawaii consumers who always exclaim about how much they enjoyed it and how much they learned. It will give you the tools to begin chopping through that forest and really see the trees (no pun intended).

Pacific Imports will hold its first evening session of Wood and Stone 101 this coming Wednesday at 6 p.m., and the next Saturday seminar is scheduled for May 19. Both will be held at the company’s showroom located at 926 Kohou St. Call 847-7711 to reserve a seat.

CONTACT: 847-7711