Lebanon in the 1970s was a tough place to live; an erupting civil war made the streets unsafe and hindered the potential of a generation of young people growing up in the cradle of civilization. While violent factions formed in the capital city of Beirut and many around him took up arms, Steve Balian dreamed of a better future.
Despite the difficulty and rising tensions, and with safety never assured, Steve struggled to formulate a path forward. When he met Zabel Hindoyan who was visiting friends and relatives in Lebanon, she captivated Steve’s heart. Zabel had been born in Lebanon and emigrated to the U.S. in the 1960s. There was an instant connection between Zabel and Steve, so she brought Steve to new shores, on a new continent halfway around the world, and they married soon after.
Steve’s new life in America had its own hardships as he started out with only $400 in his pocket. His new home was confusing – he didn’t speak the language, the culture was completely foreign, and he experienced forms of discrimination. Still, supportive family on his wife’s side and Steve’s zest to build a bright future resulted in a journey filled with opportunity. When his son Michael was born, Steve found even more joy in the USA than he could have imagined.
Steve’s career in America started at a flooring franchise location owned by his wife’s cousins. Excelling in sales, he was later offered his own franchise, which he eagerly accepted. He worked hard on the business, employing his son Michael for many years as he grew into adulthood. Along the way Steve taught Michael everything he knew about the flooring business and led by example in showing the value of hard work. In 1996 Michael graduated from College of the Desert and opened his own store, Carpet Empire Plus.
Starting with a small 1,500 square foot location with an ever-growing reputation for excellence and unparalleled customer service, Carpet Empire Plus quickly grew into a flourishing 8,500 square feet across two showrooms in the Desert. The stores specialize in sales and installation of carpet, hardwood, laminate, tile and luxury vinyl products. At first, it was just Michael, his dad Steve, his uncle and a couple of employees. As the business grew, more family members came on board.
“We are family-oriented, and I consider my employees family too,” Michael explains, going on to compliment important longtime employees such as salesmen Janis Avedisian and Michael Tomlinson who have both been with the company for fifteen years, as well as Administrator, Chip Ray.
The Carpet Empire team has remained tight-knit through good times and bad. When the housing boom hit in the early 2000s the business struggled to keep up with the demand, but pulled through thanks to family, friends, and, above all, loyal customers who appreciated how the business had treated them over the years.
“I want to thank all our previous customers and business associates for making Carpet Empire the best flooring store in the Coachella Valley. Come into one of our two showrooms in Cathedral City or Indio and let us help you turn your home into a castle!” Michael exclaims.
Carpet Empire has been turning homes into castles for over 25 years, with a founding journey that spanned two continents and a trip across the Atlantic. From Beirut to the Desert, Michael looks back on his father’s crossing and his own entrepreneurship, and calmly reflects, “If you put your heart, mind and hard work into something, you will be successful in this country. The American Dream is real.”
Visit one of Carpet Empire Plus’s two locations, or call and find out how one of their flooring experts can help you make the right choice for your castle.
Carpet Empire Plus Cathedral City:
68307 E. Palm Cayon Dr.
Cathedral City, CA 92234
Phone: (760) 292-2366
Carpet Empire Plus Indio:
Indio, CA 92201
Phone: (760) 289-3455