Whether he knew it or not, a simple stop into a Bay Area shop over 54 years ago set the course for Jim Tyson’s career.
The year was 1962 and Tyson had recently relocated to the San Jose area from Pennsylvania and was in need of a job. He quickly found one as an installer.
“Those days we were putting in carpet over brand new wood floors,” Tyson reminisced. “The hardwood floors were a pain to keep up. So we would put in wall to wall carpet which was a luxury.”
A career which began elsewhere, eventually found its way to Oakdale, when Tyson purchased Oakdale Interiors, Inc. in 1986. At the time, he had spent five years commuting to Milpitas from the Central Valley.
“Oakdale has done a great job as far as supporting us,” Tyson said of the 30-year anniversary of his business. “It’s been kind of nice.”
Oakdale Interiors, Inc. offers services in floor, as well as window coverings for residential, property management, rentals, commercial buildings and businesses.
With over 50 years in the business, three decades of that being local, Tyson has witnessed much in the way of growth, as well as product preference and people.
“People don’t want carpet anymore. It’s dirty. People are funny,” he said, as he shared stories of families deferring carpet replacement until the beloved family pet passes on. “I enjoy people. I have a good sense of humor.”
A business which the transplant seemingly fell into has treated him well. Early on in his career, Tyson earned his teaching credential in floor coverings, spending many a night teaching apprentices at San Jose City College.
“I’ve enjoyed the floor covering business,” he said. “You’re doing something that’s improving somebody’s residence or their building.”
According to Tyson, carpet has dropped off due to a number of reasons, including an increased variety of options for consumers. In addition to a declining interest in carpet, Tyson has witnessed an increased interest in stained concrete (which they don’t do) and a product called LVT (Luxury Vinyl Tile).
“The make a vinyl product look like planks,” he said, “and it also looks like ceramic but it’s vinyl.
“It’s tough stuff,” he continued. “It’s taking the place of laminate floors.”
As the business owner reflects over the past decades and his love of people and the business, he didn’t share immediate plans for retirement or selling any time soon.
“I don’t imagine I’m going to be working forever,” he said, “but I still enjoy it. It’s always been gratifying. Even when I was installing and the people are tickled as you’re leaving, that’s a great feeling.”
Oakdale Interiors, Inc. is at 122 N. Sierra Ave., Oakdale. They can be contacted at 209-847-5786.