(Summers Generations (L-R) Trever Summers, Mike Summers, Bob Summers, Tom Summers, Matt Summers and Michael Summers | Photo courtesy of Summers Flooring & Design)
Bend’s Summers Wood Floors Celebrates Kegacy Involving Three Generations
Hardwood floor craftsmanship has been ingrained in the Summers family for three generations as its Bend-based business celebrates a legacy spanning almost 70 years.
From humble beginnings, Summers Flooring & Design has grown to become a Northwest leader in providing quality workmanship in both the residential and commercial building industry, with its work covering the whole gamut, from homes to world-class golf resort clubhouses, renowned restaurants and iconic lodges — including most recently extensive flooring and staircase installations for Black Butte Ranch’s new $20 million facility.
It all started back in 1954, when patriarch Bob Summers was asked to pastor a small church in Moses Lake, Washington. The parish was struggling to make ends meet and found that they could not pay him, so he started installing and sanding wood floors to pay the bills and support his family.
Summers reached out to some men in his congregation who were also facing challenges, after being laid off by the Hanford Nuclear plant, and they became his team, along with his brother-in law and sons. Indeed, after he and fellow minister and wife “Mama” Myrna Summers had five sons, he was often heard to remark, “I have a ready-made crew!”
One of those sons, Matt Summers, remembers his first wood floor job at the tender age of nine, using a nail gun to help install the basketball court at Oregon State University’s Gill Coliseum in Corvallis. When a union rep saw the youngster, they came in and shut down the whole project as they were convinced a nine-year-old “didn’t belong in the Carpenter’s Union!”
Fast forward to 1982, and Matt and his wife Kim began running the family business in the Newberg/Portland, Oregon area until moving Summers Wood Floors and their children Michael and Jani to Bend in 1989.
After a brief detour which saw the couple try their hand in the golf industry for a cousin’s company, Matt Summers concluded building golf clubs was not his true passion and he resolved to return to his wood floor roots. To restart Summers Floors in Central Oregon, he “beat the streets,” talking to every builder he could find.
When he came across Palmer Homes, he discovered the well-known production builder’s flooring subcontractor had been fired just a week before the “Tour of Homes” annual showcase and, as Kim Summers recalls, “We jumped right on in…”
Matt Summers sprang into action and called his basketball buddy Scott Cheney (now owner of Prestige Hardwood Floors), and the trio fast-tracked the Palmer entry just in time for the flagship event. Business cards were rushed into existence for the tour, and shortly thereafter the family firm started doing flooring in Bend full-time.
Kim Summers said, “After a much-needed one-year break from doing floors, Matt realized he truly did love doing them! Summers Wood Floors was immediately the only flooring company in town — besides a fireman that was doing flooring part time. God obviously had a plan for our future!”
Since launching the Bend division in 1990, Summers has been the largest wood floor company east of the Cascades, including the Summers’ creating the previously unheard-of concept of the wood floor showroom to illustrate to customers the quality of their work as well as helping clients in the decision-making process.
Kim Summers said, “While we have seen many changes over the years, one thing that has not changed is our commitment to our customers, many of which have become friends.”
The company prioritizes community involvement and takes pride in supplying superior flooring products with outstanding relational service throughout Central Oregon over three generations.
Among its services, Summers provides custom wood floors, engineered wood, luxury vinyl (LVP), carpeting, and DIY flooring.
Following in the footsteps of his father and uncles, Michael Summers grew up working on floors, especially in the summer months, before leaving for college in Idaho in 2001, where like his dad he had developed a talent for playing music. Both have toured nationwide, and Michael is renowned as a world-class drummer and vocalist who performs regularly with the popular band Precious Byrd.
After initially resisting the idea of getting involved in the business during his formative years, Michael returned to Bend in 2004 and became one of Summers’ key installers. He has continued to grow with the company since joining the management team in 2014.
Summers Wood Floors has continued to be on the leading edge of innovation and has been at the forefront of defining and changing the market in Central Oregon, including Matt Summers introducing and developing the beveled, or eased, edge process for custom wood floors, which revolutionized the industry as well as improving maintenance and longevity of the finish.
After renting several commercial spaces in Bend, the Summers clan realized a dream of building their own building on the north end of town in 2005, bringing along other associated vendor co-tenants such as Nelson Tile & Stone to create a full design center. Building on a love of entertainment, they hosted concerts, parties, churches, chamber events and numerous fundraisers in their “event center” showroom.
Unfortunately, they became another casualty of the great recession and by 2012 after a precipitous drop in revenue, enforcing layoffs, they had to give up the building. Nelson Tile & Stone owner Chris Nelson heard of their plight and recommended they join him at his new location on Division Street, off Revere.
Finding the space outdated, friends and family members showed up in pickups, moving trucks and tool belts and within days recreated a state-of-the-art showroom which became the company’s new home base.
Within weeks of losing their building, The Summers family received the devastating news that Matt’s older brother, Mike Summers, lost his life in a work-related (new occupation) accident.
Kim Summers said, “Mike was not only a hilarious and loving family member but was a National Wood Floor Association educator and respected rep in the industry. He had run our crews for many years and was a great friend to everyone he met, with an unforgettable laugh that was contagious.
“Losing Mike taught us that the loss of our building was no longer important, it was just a building, what mattered was people!”
Matt Summers retired from the business shortly after losing his brother and doing wood floors since the age of five, and returned to his passion of playing music, primarily with the High Street Band.
Kim and Michael have continued to lead the company together since Matt’s retirement building on those early foundations.
She observed, “As time has gone on, through all the lessons that only hardship can bring, our business has been restored with a great building, great clients and most importantly surrounded by or incredible team members.
“The Summers legacy started with Bob Summers 70 years ago will continue — loving people with everything we have!”
Summers Flooring & Design • 1841 NE Division St., Bend
summerswoodfloors.com • 541-389-9246