Though today is the final day of March and therefore the final day of Women’s History Month, we still have one more incredible woman-owned Toledo Chamber member business to share with you in celebration of the month! Dee Weik, president and CEO of Carpets by Otto, shares with us about her beginnings in the business and how she and her husband, Otto, came in to business ownership. We hope you had a wonderful Women’s History Month and though the month is coming to a close, we encourage you to support and promote our region’s many wonderful woman-owned businesses throughout the year. Enjoy!
Dee Weik, president and CEO
Carpets by Otto
Brief description of your business:
Carpets by Otto is a carpet and flooring retail sales operation. We offer the newest and best quality flooring products from America’s finest manufacturers. Founded in Toledo, Ohio, in 1969, the company has grown to three locations serving northwest Ohio and southeast Michigan.
Were you born and raised in the Toledo Region?
I was born in Toledo, Ohio, and raised in Old Orchard. Attended Gesu School, Little Flower School, graduated from St. Ursula Academy, and the College of Education at the University of Toledo.
When did you launch your first business, and how did you get to where you are today?
My husband Otto and I started our carpet cleaning and janitorial company, Sav-A-Carpet, Inc., in 1969. Carpet sales were added and the name was changed to Carpets by Otto. While raising two children, I taught school during the day and organized the new flooring business after hours. Otto cleaned, sold and installed carpet. I stopped teaching in 1987 when our flooring business had grown enough to support our family. Looking back, raising two kids along with teaching full classrooms of fourth-graders actually prepared me to take on the challenges of running a business. I am grateful for the lessons taught to me by these little ones.
What does Women’s History Month mean to you?
Regarding women’s History Month, I believe women making an impact on society is truly wonderful, but women can also make a huge difference to just a small group, or even just one person, and that is equally wonderful. I think it’s important to recognize all women who work to make life easier and happier for those outside their family circle.
What do you like most about your job?
What do I like most about my job? I enjoy processing the information and numbers that go with running a business. I enjoy problem solving and innovation. I also enjoy hearing positive feedback from our customers and how we have helped so many people achieve their project goals.
What are some of your favorite things to do when you are not working?
Being with our family, doing anything together. I love to cook and having small family Saturday brunches at home has become a new favorite thing for me.
Have you had any special mentors or supporters that have helped guide your career or business?
Otto and I tended to lean on each other, so we were our own primary support system. Along the way we were blessed with the guidance of countless flooring industry professionals and friends who helped us build a company based on trust, confidence, creative thinking and financial advice. We learned to view “problems” as “challenges.”
Major accomplishment(s) that make(s) you proud?
Surviving our flooded showroom in 1980 and moving to higher ground. Building our first showroom in Toledo. Building our outlet in Holland and erecting our two digital billboards visible from I-475. Building our beautiful Levis Commons Design Center. Surviving the housing bubble intact. Surviving COVID-19 with all employees still onboard. We enjoy supporting our fellow local businesses and creatives with our Instagram “Featured Fridays.”
What are the benefits and struggles of owning a business in the Toledo Region?
Toledo is always growing and expanding into the surrounding areas. With that growth comes the need for new carpet and flooring! We are happy to grow with the community we love.
What other woman-owned businesses should northwest Ohioans know about?
Our good friends Dina Villa who owns El Tipico Mexican Restaurant and Laura Nichols who owns Interiors by Laura. Of course I have to mention our daughter, Kelly Brown. She is a local artist and creates paintings and does professional window painting as Art by Kelly, and as Mini Miscellaneous she creates the cutest mixed media miniatures. She recently won the Toledo City Paper’s Best of Toledo winner for Best Visual Artist, painting and drawing. Fun Fact: She drew our Otto cartoon character!