WASILLA — Michael Cole and his wife Karen are still picking up the pieces after the Nov. 30 earthquake. The 7.0 tremor tore up the Kash’s Carpet Warehouse, causing massive structural damage to the store, forcing them to pack up and move to a new location.

“It’s unfortunate but we’re trying to get through it,” Michael Cole said. “You gotta do what you gotta do.”

Located on the far right side of the West Parks Highway Annex Mall, the original Kash’s Carpet was shut down after the fire marshal deemed it unsafe due to the severe structural damage caused by the quake. Michael said that his store was the only one that was shut down at the strip mall.

“This is freaky,” Michael said as he pointed out all the massive cracks on the ground and other structural damage throughout the building.

The Coles found a new location for Kash’s Carpet, the building along the Palmer-Wasilla Highway that Town & Country Home Furnishing operated out of for many years. The new location is now open but the Coles are still another two weeks out before they move everything over. They started the moving process last month.

“It’s been a lot of work. We’ve been working almost every day. It just seems endless you know?” Michael said.

Michael said that he and Karen bought Kash’s Carpet knowing they would only be at that location for a few years before finding another location but they never dreamed of nor did they ever want to move under these circumstances, “not like this.”

“We definitely didn’t expect an earthquake to do this to us,” Michael said.

Michael said that the transition has been a very expensive process on top of losing sales during the shutdown.

“It’s a real strain. Not making any money this month is really hurting us,” Michael said.

Michael said that they’ve struggled to make money at Kash’s Carpet since they acquired it. He said this sudden move to a new location only added to their financial stress.

“We’re really in a tight spot right now,” Michael said.

Kash’s Carpet has been around for over 23 years, according to Michael. He said that he and Karen bought it three years ago from Tom and Judy Thomas, the original owners. The Coles also own Rug Bones Flooring in Soldotna, which they bought from Frank Thomas, Tom’s brother. Michael called the two Thomas siblings the “Carpet Brothers, two legends in the carpet world.”

“We go way back,” Michael said.

Michael said that Rug Bones is performing very well in Soldotna. He said that he worked there for many years before purchasing it. He said that he worked really hard in his field to get where he was at.

“I just moved up the ladder and the opportunity arose. It’s really a fun business to be in. I made a lot of friends over the years in the carpet business,” Michael said.

Michael said that they are considering the idea of selling furniture at their new location. He said it would make sense if they decide to sell furniture for a number of reasons, namely the notion of selling a rug with cabinets, tables and other types of furniture to make an aesthetically pleasing match.

“I could fill it all up with carpets but we’ve already had so many people come through the door looking for furniture so I’m thinking it’s a sign,” Michael said.

Karen said that when it came down to it, she was thankful they had a place to go. The former site of Town and Country is located off the Palmer-Wasilla Highway, near the Schwabenhof bar. She said that that spot will be a good location for a start fresh. The store hasn’t been closed very long and Karen said that the timing was incredible.

“I think it’s going to open some doors for us,” Karen said. “We’re totally optimistic about it. We can’t do anything but go forward.”

Michael said that as a small business, time is of the essence. He said that they lost money every day they were closed so they had to find a new location fast.

“We scrambled and we’re doing the best we can, trying to survive,” Michael said.

Michael said that he and Karen both have a strong religious faith and they believe that something terrible like a 7.0 earthquake ravaging their store and rendering it inoperable can eventually turn into something good if they hold on tight and move forward.

“We’re just walking by faith right now,” Michael said.

Kash’s Carpet is now located at 651 North Shoreline Drive. The phone number is still the same, 907-357-8300.

Contact Mat-Su Valley Frontiersman reporter Jacob Mann at jacob.mann@frontiersman.com


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