In 1928, George R. Pierce decided to begin selling used cars for himself.
He decided to rent the west half of the building located
at 30TH and Montana Avenue in Billings, MT, where the original Pierce Flooring
store would eventually be located. He always said he did not handle used
cars, only "Experienced Automobiles". George Pierce was a master organizer
and salesman. However, one man once remarked to him. "Your place is so
dirty. How can you get people to stand still long enough to sell them anything?" Thinking
quickly, George replied, "The joint is dirty, but we are sociable." This
became a new phrase in his advertising along with his myth of a dog called, "Gum
Shoe". Over the years, he had many men and boys employed, and he often
times provided meals and a roof over their heads during tough times. George
always said, "No one works for me, they work with me."
In 1939, George became the distributor for Willy's Jeep in Eastern Montana
and Northern Wyoming. About this time, he also started the flooring business
with linoleum. Used cars, used parts, automobile repair, and what little
linoleum was available, carried on the show through World War II. After
the war, his sons, John, Frank, and George came home from the Army and
joined in the business.
Shortly after, he added carpet to his linoleum department. Automobiles
were handled on one side of the building, carpet on the other side of the
building, and linoleum, tile, and paint in the basement. The business grew
until it became necessary to purchase a used car lot at 5th Street West
and St. Johns Ave. With extra space available, a few travel trailers and
mobile homes were added to the business.
In 1965, Kaiser industry cancelled all Willy's distributorships. By this
time, business expansion warranted the entire downtown store at 30th and
Montana to be used for the flooring business, and all auto related activities
were located at the 5th and St. Johns location.
George R.Pierce passed away in 1958 of a heart attack. Ten years
later, in April of 1968, son's John and George L. Pierce purchased their
brother Frank's share of the businesses.
Pierce Flooring expanded its operations by establishing a retail store
in Bozeman in 1967 located at the corner of 6th and East Mendenhall. John
Pierce passed away 1971 of a heart attack. As business grew, a new store
was constructed in 1971 at 544 East Mendenhall, across the street. The
next phase of Pierce Flooring's expansion was in Billings. In 1972, the
Pierces purchased a building, originally a bowling alley, located at 2032
Grand Avenue and opened the Carpet Barn, a "discount" retail store. Missoula
became the next new location for Pierce Flooring when an old Safeway building
was leased, and ultimately purchased at 1603 Brooks Street. As warehouse
capacity grew short, the decision was made to construct a new 19,800 sq.ft.
warehouse facility located adjacent to interstate 90, just east of South
27th street in Billings in 1978. Next, Great Falls became the new home
of Pierce Flooring, located on an old dairy property situated on 5 acres
on 7th Street South. This addition took place in 1984. George L. Pierce
passed away of cancer in 1993. Butte, Montana was our next location for
a retail store. We remodeled and moved into a former grocery store located
on Dewey Street in the summer of 1994. As business grew in Bozeman, the
decision was made to build a beautiful new facility in 1995, on the west
side of Main Street. A year later, in 1996, the decision was made to acquire
a second flooring store in Bozeman: Carpet Mill Outlet, located 4 miles
west of Bozeman on the road to 4 Corners. This store serves as the counterpart
to the Carpet Barn in Billings, selling discount promotional inventories.
In 1998 we opened a new Billings Pierce Flooring store at 2950 King Avenue
The original 5th street west car lot grew into Pierce RV's, Pierce Parts
and Service. Pierce Homes was established atMoore land and Laurel
Road, where they proudly displayed an inventory of over a 1/2 mile of homes.
In 2002 Ron Pierce re-located Pierce Homes, RV's and leasing to a brand
new facility located on 27 acres just off I-90 at the Shiloh interchange. In
2006 Pierce RV's added a second facility in Kalispell, MT.
The Pierce businesses have grown into a large Montana-family owned operation
including7 flooring stores, thePierce Homes and RV's Center,
and Pierce RV Center in Kalispell. Ron Pierce is the sole owner
of Geo. R. Pierce Inc. which employs over 170 people. The businesses are
based on hard work, honesty, trust, and taking extreme care of customers,
suppliers, employees, and giving back to their communities.