Mr. Tiwari has “made no secret of his ambition to be the largest rug and home accent importer in the U.S.,” she said. “Under Tiwari’s guidance, Surya has been a leader in developing home accents products that complement its rugs and has focused on home accents and Internet distribution channels. In fact, he has often said that Surya is not a rug company but a home accents company.”
Indeed, from a company that initially made simple rugs, Surya now has more than 6,000 retail, design and e-commerce accounts for its 30,000-product catalog, which includes rugs, pillows, throws, accent furniture, wall decor, lighting, decorative accents and bedding. Although Mr. Tiwari would like to increase the percentage of products made domestically, he noted that his company sells products from more than 100 factories in 15 countries.
That said, being based in the U.S. yields extra caché overseas.
“The world does want to follow us (the United States) in a big way,” he said. “They look to us for ideas.”
American companies’ ability to deliver a high level of service and know-how are also selling points to foreign buyers.
“When you travel, you see McDonald’s, Domino’s, Subway and you know they have fine-tuned their business. They know the business and the model keeps improving. We provide such a high level of service, a variety of products, price, assortment, color, style, convenience. We have that know-how,” he said.
The company is also expanding its showrooms, recently building a 26,056-square-foot anchor showroom in the vital High Point, N.C., market, a 5,000-square-foot showroom in Tupelo, Miss., and a 15,000-square-foot showroom in AmericasMart. The Tupelo showroom is targeted to Surya’s value segment line and focuses on products that will retail at $499 or less. The company also has showrooms in Las Vegas and New York.
But perhaps no better sign of the strength of the company and its plans for growth is the $33 million new corporate office and distribution facility being built in Cartersville. The expansion will allow the company to consolidate shipping and distribution, creating a more efficient logistics base and increasing operational flexibility. Groundbreaking should occur in August.
Staying in the state was important, with Mr. Tiwari citing the convenience of Savannah’s port, its closeness to a major trade market (AmericasMart) and a North Georgia workforce with “carpet know-how.”
Acknowledging that the city and county offered tax credits to opening the facility in Cartersville, Mr. Tiwari said the closer proximity to Atlanta was a deciding factor over expanding again in Calhoun.
“It is easier for us to acquire talent. Dalton’s [employment market] is saturated. From Midtown to Calhoun is an hour, which is not ideal for everyone. Forty minutes is somewhat more manageable,” he said.
Some who watch Mr. Tiwari say he knows a thing or two about talent.
“Satya Tiwari’s ambition and energy has no boundaries. He is totally focused on the task at hand. As long as he keeps this focus, and barring any unforeseen events, Surya’s growth will probably continue to out-strip the industry average,” said Ms. Wyman of Rugnews.
Mr. Tiwari is up for an award this fall from accounting giant EY. Mr. Surya has been named a finalist for the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year 2014 Award in the Southeast region.