submitted by Steve Zettner [Email address: szettner #AT# - replace #AT# with @ ]

Heart Leads Moroccan to  Burnet Rd.
Carpet Store

Sam Beirouch once sold my wife and I a carpet. A few years later, when I met him by chance,
he was effusive. “How’s your wife –
Sara? You know I saw you once at
Pyramids when your family was eating there. I couldn’t say hi because I was on stage with my band playing the
lute. (Yes – that was me. We were
playing by the bar). Your wife was having a baby, wasn’t she? How did that turn out?”

Sam, the manager of the Image Tile and Carpet on Burnet Rd,
is a native of Morocco and speaksCarpet_and_tile_1

six languages, a handy accomplishment when
your career takes you to customers on three continents. Sam’s career began in
perfume, not carpet. As a Promotional
Décor Department Manager for Chanel, Sam brought innovation to the old theme of
product contests. His “Count and Win”
concept used a computer-generated kaleidoscope of Chanel product images –
perfumes, lipsticks, watches. Count the
correct number of products and win a prize. “The catch was that in order to count the products, you had to study
them carefully, become familiar and comfortable with the look.”

While in the United States on a business trip, Sam visited
Austin and met Marnie, a native Austinite who grew up near Highland Mall. After a year of restless trans-Atlantic
dating, Sam married Marnie and gave up his promising career at Chanel to live
in Austin. “I knew the previous owner of
Image Tile and Carpet. So I came down to
Austin and threw myself into learning the trade.” He learned quickly and was named store
manager for the Burnet Rd. location. He
and Marnie have talked about moving to Africa and working with orphans in Kenya
or Ethiopia. But that plan was put on
hold this year after the birth of their son Jibril.

Burnet Rd. is known around Austin as a
home-improvement hub,
says Sam. “There are five other tile and
carpet places along this street. People
drive down Burnet hitting one store after another, looking for what
want.” Allandale homeowners will often
come in complaining about the pink 1950s-era tile. “They want something
more elegant. We have a huge selection of products. Again, the trick is
figuring out what you
want.” To that end, Sam’s floor team
offers free interior-decorating expertise. “We’ll come over with
samples to help people brain-storm, or we can
refer customers to professionals that we work with and trust.”

Sam sees Burnet Rd. growing, and his business along with
it. “Image recently became the biggest
specialty retailer of flooring products in Central Texas, and we’re proud of
that. Our secret – we deliver what we