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Interface, Inc., began in 1973 when Ray C. Anderson, currently Chairman of the Board, recognized the need for flexible floorcoverings for the modern office environment. Anderson led a joint venture between Carpets International Plc. (CI), a British company, and a group of American investors to produce and market modular soft-surfaced floorcoverings.
On its first day of operation, the new company had only 15 employees, including Anderson, and faced significant challenges from sharply rising petrochemical costs, a key raw material in the carpet industry. CI’s advanced cutting and bonding technology sustained the company and enabled it to meet the needs of the office building boom of the mid-1970s. Modular carpet tiles grew in popularity and by 1978 Interface sales had reached $11 million. The company went public in 1983.
Through acquisition, Interfaced gained entry into the European and Middle Eastern markets, and began to extend its core business to include woven broadloom carpet products, specialty carpet-related chemical operations and related office furnishings industries.
In 1987, the company’s name was changed to Interface, Inc. With its acquisition of Heuga Holdings B.V., one of the world’s oldest manufacturers of carpet tiles, Interface became the undisputed world leader in carpet tiles. A short time later, the company invested in Prince Street Technologies, Ltd., a producer of upper-end broadloom carpet now known as Bentley Prince Street, Inc. Over the years, the company’s growth has been augmented by more than 50 acquisitions. It entered the residential market in 2003 with the introduction of FLOR.
In the mid-1990s, Interface’s Chairman and CEO Ray C. Anderson shifted the company’s strategy, aiming to redirect its industrial practices to include a focus on sustainability without sacrificing its business goals. Anderson wrote a book entitled Mid-Course Correction, in which he discussed his own awakening to environmental concerns and presented a model for businesses to achieve sustainability.
Since its founding, Interface has grown into a billion-dollar corporation, named byFortune as one of the “Most Admired Companies in America” and the “100 Best Companies to Work For.” It has diversified and globalized its businesses, with sales in 110 countries and manufacturing facilities on four continents and is now the world’s leading producer of soft-surfaced modular floorcoverings.