HANSON — After 30 years, the Hansen family owners of Jay’s Carpet in Hanson are ready to roll up the carpet and they are “going fishing.”
Peggy and Jay Hansen formally retired last week after “saving their pennies” as they called it. Luckily, they were not one of the mom and pop shops across the country forced to close due to COVID-19 or the economy.
In fact it was just the opposite.
The couple sat with The Express this week at the Whitman Park during the 60-degree sunshine. They have resided in Whitman for the last three decades. Prior to Whitman they lived in Hanson for 42 years.
“Best part of the country,” said Peggy.
In the last two years including 2020, the year everyone stayed home, Jay’s Carpet was collecting significantly higher profits as house quarantiners were redoing rooms with carpeting and renovating their spaces. The uptick in sales allowed the Hansen’s to reach their savings goal they declared many years ago, when they had agreed to officially retire.
Recalling their love story, Peggy and Jay met 55 years ago while she was on vacation in California. His home outside of the San Fernando Valley and five-plus years of the carpeting trade, gave him a running start as the couple eventually pursued their own company back in Massachusetts. Also a licensed subcontractor and retail and installation specialist, Jay had the skill set to be in business on his own.
Married and starting a family in the late 1960s, the couple put a deposit down in April 1991 to officially launch their company — Jay’s Carpet.
They eventually expanded the Old Pratt building which was 1914 built house located in a commercial location after they gathered what was needed to make a deposit and the rest is history.
She said she learned early on the taste and meaning of success. Never afraid of a day’s work, Peggy painted a picture of herself as a 10-year-old girl whose pride and joy was her first lemonade stand, which eventually sold lemonade, popcorn and popsicles.
By age 12 she gained a paper route and has been working ever since. With a strong work ethic the couple knew they were both ready to fulfill their dream of owning their own business.
“Being in business for ourselves was not always easy,” Jay said. “It’s like a marriage when you own your own business you are married to it.”
What was the key to their success?
“It is not something that you have when you are done. It doesn’t mean you’re rich. It is the feeling of success, the satisfaction of selling something to someone which the glass of lemonade made me feel successful when I was only 10,” she recalled with a laugh.
Jay expressed his thankfulness for all the customers and the loyalty of repeat business over their three decades with 98 percent of their years filled with positive interactions. He called their relationship with employees and other sub-contractors more than work – they got to know them and they became friends.
The Hansen’s have two adult daughters. Peggy Number Two, as she is lovingly known to customers, was named after her mom and has helped run and establish the business for nearly 20 years alongside her parents. Their second daughter Pam is a hospice nurse who has two children now in their 20s.
Peggy guaranteed her two grandchildren would have plenty of hugs for her considering lighter COVID restrictions and their recent completions of their vaccinations. She is preparing her arms for lots of embracing.
They are planning on enlarging their garden for starters on their list of fun. They plan to enjoy breakfast together now.
Some of their memorable experiences at Jay’s Carpet were their giant yellow tent sales a once in a year clearance that customers always looked forward to. They had over 1,000 people at one of their largest tent sales with cars parked in any spare area a site to be seen, she added.
It became harder as they aged to host the traditional tent sales and subsequently decided it was too much for them.
They have received well wishes and congratulations from all of the south shore and were unbelievably humbled by the outpouring of calls and social media.
With an emotional tone in her voice Peggy held her arm against Jay and expressed she was sad that age had caught up with them.
:…Because if we were younger we would still be there – but we are going out on a high note,” she said.
At the age of 81 and 76 their new found time she said is called freedom!