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What is now LV Wood was founded in Buffalo NY by my father, Jim Caroll. After having worked as a master antique refinisher, my father developed a true Reverence For Wood, and that was what he called his first company.
In the early 1980’s he noticed the rising trend in wood flooring, watching as it gained in popularity over carpet and linoleum that had been the norm for so many years. In 1985 he opened Buffalo Hardwood in a modest storefront on Hertel Avenue, in the predominantly Italian neighborhood of North Buffalo.
With his wife and partner Carolyn Caroll at his side, Pops and CC as we affectionately called them, placed the company atop the wood flooring industry. They won prestigious awards from the National Wood Flooring Association for their uniquely high end work, year after year. As a young boy I remember being very impressed seeing all of those big trophies lined up in the small showroom.
Buffalo was a growing market at the time, and Pops was heavily involved with the building trade in town. Over the next 15 years Buffalo Hardwood doubled and tripled in size, eventually occupying a brand new building, bigger than any of us ever imagined it would. Throughout this time Pops and CC began traveling extensively Italy. They attended some design shows, and eventually caught the attention of an Italian wood floor manufacturer.
In 2000, with my sister Giulia and I on board, we began importing wood products from Italy. We represented 3 Italian wood mills throughout all of North America, and our new company was known as Legno Veneto; Legno meaning wood and Veneto being the region in Italy where our companies were based.
In 2005 Pops and I rehabilitated an old a snow plow fabrication plant into our national sales, sampling, and logistics center. This unique facility, dubbed The Annex, is still our home office to this day. With the new space came new a product base, and The Annex became a launch pad for new materials headed for busy building markets all over the country.
Now that all of our new products were being designed and manufactured in the USA, and our offering was no longer purely Italian, we condensed the Legno Veneto name to LV Wood.
In the summer of 2008 the economic crisis was reaching full tilt. Our Italian business was slowing down more and more, and the long term forecast was bleak. In spite of it all we bet against the newscasters and the analysts. We opened our first flagship showroom in NYC, showcasing a new range of beautiful and unique American materials in a raw, gallery like setting.
Situated in the Chelsea / Flatiron District, the area surrounding the showroom is saturated with design related businesses of every sort. The new stream of clients and fresh business kept us afloat through the deepest lulls of the great recession, and we are now entering our 6th year of business in the city that never sleeps.
Today, my sister and I run the company together, myself here in the city and Giulia upstate in Buffalo. As a company and as a family, we have grown and changed quite a bit. But what hasn’t changed is that we are still a family business with employees who are like family.
My father lived a life full of kindness, courage, and generosity. It is with these virtues as our guides that we continue to operate this company every day.
James Caroll II, Principal, LV Wood
Jim Caroll, Buffalo NY circa 1980
Jim & Carolyn Caroll, Buffalo NY circa 1985
Percy in NYC shop, 2012