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The Yankee Express

Rockdale Rug / Curtain Factory Outlet thrive on good old-fashioned customer service

Apr 08, 2021 02:21PM ● By Janet Stoica

Patty Cloutier and Cindy Johnson.

When’s the last time you were greeted by name upon entering a retail store?  That happens with customers of the Rockdale Rug & Braid Outlet and The Curtain Factory Outlet in the Rockdale section of Northbridge.

 Rockdale owner, Cindy Johnson, with staff: Kristi Secor and Sue Boudreau.

You’ll be greeted by the most customer-friendly and service-oriented staffs in the area. These two complementary outlets are a true throwback to the days when a smile and great customer service ruled the retail trade.
Ten years ago, sisters Cindy Johnson and Patty Cloutier learned that The Curtain Factory Outlet was about to close its doors. 
Patty already ran a successful business in the same building, Bay State Floor Company. She and Cindy had been in retail for most of their working lives and they felt that the well-known curtain outlet would be a natural progression and extension of the soft goods business. The sisters realized that local jobs could be saved as well.  
In 1974, when the curtain factory first opened on the ground floor, all its curtains were handmade in the factory above the retail store. Times changed, the factory closed, and the product line was sourced elsewhere. 
In 2011, with the impending demise of the well-known New England fixture, Patty Cloutier and Cindy Johnson saw the future and ran with it. Cindy also bough half of Patty’s flooring business and opened Rockdale Rug & Braid Outlet. 
Cindy knows her inventory and her customers. “Our customers have been indoors for a long time,” she said. “They’ve spent many hours checking out their current furnishings and have decided it’s time for some serious refreshing.” 
Braided rugs are the best sellers here. “We purchase the majority of our rugs from a family-run company in Rhode Island. Our jute rugs are made in India in the style our customers want. They are low pile and thin which makes them less of a tripping hazard and their weave is tight so pets cannot pull up threads very easily,” said Cindy. She also noted that some of their newer indoor/outdoor rectangular rugs are made from recycled water bottles, making them easy to clean by hosing them down outdoors. Very eco-friendly!
Braided rugs have always been popular in New England. They are fashionable and versatile and come in a variety of shapes and sizes.  The rectangle shapes must be seen to be truly appreciated. Sizes for the braided rugs run from 2’ x 3’ up to 10’ x 13.’  Shapes include ovals, rounds, runners, and rectangles. The jute fiber rugs’ sizes include 20” x 30” to 8’ x 10.’  Braided rug fiber choices vary from wool to nylon to polypropylene with looks that include traditional, transitional, and modern. Stair runners are available in any length and can be matched to area rugs for complete redecorating harmony. 
Oriental rugs are also part of their inventory. Many other products to complete a stylish makeover can be seen here, as well such as fascinating plug-in canvas wall art depicting cozy homes with their evening windows lit and even antique trucks with their headlights aglow sitting quietly in a barn’s front yard. 
“There’s a little bit of everything for everybody’s taste,” says Cindy. “We have little rugs and mats for pet owners with the cutest of sayings on them, table rugs, braided trivets, night lights, and braided baskets. Faux animal-hide printed rugs are popular right now; we have some very unusual designs. With Mother’s Day coming up we’ve brought in some special towels and candles with beautiful designs and expressions.
“In these times where lots of companies have gone out of business, I’m so very thankful that we are doing as well as we are,” she says. “We have a nice group of employees here who enjoy helping all our customers. And my husband, Alan, has just been great. He’s done a lot of work here to make the store look as good as it does. I’ve driven out to elderly customer’s homes, who can’t get out, to make deliveries to them. It’s just old-fashioned customer service. We want people to feel comfortable and happy that they’re being helped.”
Patty manages The Curtain Factory Outlet. “It’s groups of ladies that I see here most often,” she says. “It’s like a family outing and we love to see them. They give each other decorating ideas and advice as they shop the aisles. With our online ordering we do sell all over New England and ship throughout the country.” And, like her sister states, Patty is strongly focused on customer service. “We also emphasize that the majority of our products are made in the USA,” says Patty, “and we proudly feature this in our advertising.”
A large part of the store’s business during COVID has been online. The Outlet specializes in custom window treatments: shades, vertical blinds, and wooden shutters. Their custom blinds are the Graber brand, and they will custom-fit to order.  Patty recently measured for over 100 units of custom blinds for a newly-constructed building in Worcester. Estimates are always no-charge. In addition to curtain valances, tiers, and panels, the Outlet has shower curtains and draperies on display, along with a full range of hardware and custom accessories. There are over 450 displays of curtains in the store along with a craft department that includes country crafts, home décor, and floral arrangements. 
They accept all major credit cards and have a generous return policy.
“Customer service is our Number One priority,” says Patty.
With a large product selection, the shop draws customers from all of Worcester County and Rhode Island as well as from the Natick/Framingham area. 
Rockdale Rug & Braid Outlet, The Curtain Factory Outlet are at 8-10 Sutton Street, Northbridge, Rockdale Rug phone: (508) 234-2882; Curtain Factory phone: (508) 234-2944. Hours: Wed-Sat 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. or by appointment.