According to All Star Flooring founder Abe Levy, the plan was to retire. He had sold the company and was intending on spending his newfound free time doubling his efforts in public service. But when the buyer failed to pay within the agreed time limit, Levy was forced to reclaim his business.
Although things did not go the way he originally had intended, the 74-year-old maintains that he is glad to return to the business he began in 1963 and is eager to meet South Florida’s ever-evolving flooring needs.
“I think a healthy mind is an active mind and that this will add longevity to my life,” he said. “It feels great to be back in the swing of things. The response since I came back has been phenomenal.”
Born in upstate New York, Levy spent four years in the Air Force, where he was stationed at Homestead Air Force Base. He was on active duty during the Cuban Missile Crisis and served on security detail for President John F. Kennedy on several occasions.
Schooling opportunities for his daughter in St. Augustine convinced him to stay and make his home in the area after being honorably discharged. While looking for work, he visited Coral Gables Employment, where the owner liked him so much he was offered a job on the spot.
Seven months later, Levy received a phone call from Paul Goodman, the vice president of Giffen Industries, a publicly traded flooring conglomerate located in Miami.
“He said, ‘Why don’t you come out for an interview?’ Levy recounted. “I did and he hired me the same day.”
Levy worked his way up to become vice president of the company, earning stock along the way. In 1963, he sold his shares and went into business for himself.
“I loved the work and the stock made me a very comfortable person,” he said. “Through it I was able to finance my own business over the years.”
Levy opened All Star Flooring in 1963 as a one-stop shop for all flooring needs. One of the largest and most diversified flooring companies in Florida, with management and installers boasting more than 40 years of experience, the business guarantees the lowest prices possible for all types of flooring including carpet, ceramic tile, marble, glass block, vinyl, composite tile, sheet vinyl, plank, rubber, porcelain, natural stone, epoxy, terrazzo, laminate, authentic wood and polished and stained concrete.
“There has been a great evolution in flooring over the years, from carpet to porcelain and stone with the Latinization of South Florida to now, with vinyl products that look like stone and wood,” he said.
Throughout his time in Miami, Levy has become involved with numerous charities and outreach programs including the Catholic Hospice, Jewish Hospice, Alliance for Aging, the Catholic Health Initiatives of Dade County — where he serves on the executive board as treasurer and fundraiser — and the South Florida Boys Choir, where he serves as executive director.
He is a longstanding member of Kendall Networkers and the Palmetto Bay, Cutler Bay, Pinecrest and Greater Kendall business associations and is a winner of both the Presidential Volunteer Award from President Barack Obama and the Volunteer Award from the Miami Chamber of Commerce for his efforts in Dade County.
In keeping with such recognition, Levy recently accepted a board position with Art Sotloff’s Steven Sotloff 2LIVES Foundation, whose goal is to provide both endowed and individual scholarships for journalism and liberal arts students. In April, he is putting on a casino night to raise funds for the American Legion and a golf tournament at Shula’s Golf Club to benefit the Catholic Health Initiatives of Dade County.