Alan Greenberg, co-founder, co-chairman and co-CEO of CCA Global Partners, died of cancer Aug. 28 at the age of 64. He leaves behind a legacy of friendship, dedication and service at the nation’s fifth largest home improvement company.
Before CCA Global grew to a $10.2 billion company, and CCA grew to oversee 3,600 domestic and international retailers, there was one store in one city right in the heart of the United States.
“Growing up, we would always go to play in the store, or work in the store as we got older,” said Tod Greenberg of his father’s orginal store, Tile Town/Carpet City in St. Louis. “He always had some work for us to do when we were old enough to work. I worked in the office, did installation, worked in the warehouse. He made sure it was always real work—it was important to him.”
Tod Greenberg now is a vp at CCA Global, working on information technology initiatives. It had not been his initial plan to go into his father’s business, but as CCA Global expanded and grew on the Internet side, he decided to leave a consulting job in Chicago and come back home to Missouri.
“I think we have such good leadership,” he said. “You know, he didn’t do anything alone. I think the key initiatives that were really important to him—building supplier relationships, communicating across the companies—will continue growing.”
Alan Greenberg’s co-pilot in the flooring business has been Howard Brodsky, who will continue on as the sole CEO of the flooring conglomerate, overseeing its 15 affiliated companies.
Brodsky said that for the past 24 years the pair were in business together, they spoke on the phone almost every day. He said he counted Greenberg’s death as a great personal loss, as well as a blow to the industry.
“We had an immediate bond with each other,” Brodsky said. “It was really never work for either of us. It was a labor of love. It was exciting to do this with someone who was your best friend.”
Brodsky said that as business partners, they shared a passion for building businesses and helping small retailers, particularly in the floor covering arena, but also in lighting, biking, lending services and the other trades in which CCA has held interests. As friends, the pair traveled the world for their business and fostered shared interests and friendly rivalries.
“He was a big Cardinals fan and I’m a big Red Sox fan,” explained Brodsky, who works out of CCA’s Manchester, N.H., office near Boston. “It was ironic because he was a big Rams fan, too, and they played (the Patriots in 2002). The final bet on the World Series was that he’d have to go out in St. Louis and hold up a sign saying that he was a Red Sox fan.”
And did he?
“He said he did, but nobody ever saw it,” Brodsky said with a laugh.
Greenberg’s accomplishments in the floor covering world are plentiful. He joined Tile Town/Carpet City in 1968 and helped grow the dealer into a $20 million business. In 1974, he started his own four-store chain called Sun Carpet, also in St. Louis. He had served as president and chairman of the Retail Floorcovering Institute and was named wholesale and distribution Entrepreneur of the Year by Ernst & Young in 1999. Greenberg has been the vice chairman of the Floor Covering Industry Foundation, and earlier this year was awarded the FCIF Lifetime Achievement Award.
Business was not all business for Greenberg. An avid golfer, he helped establish a charity golf tournament held annually by the FCIF that has raised $500,000 for floor covering industry initiatives. That tournament, set to take place this month, will be named after Greenberg henceforth, Brodsky said.
Greenberg was known for his quick wit and a diverse set of interests. He once served as an assistant sheriff in the St. Louis suburb of Westwood, and he held a seat on the Westwood Country Club Finance Committee. He was a member of the board of directors for the Jewish Center for the Aged.
Greenberg was married to his wife, Sharon, for 41 years. The couple met in the third grade, and they were close friends from childhood. He also leaves behind his son Tod Greenberg; daughter-in-law Stefanie Greenberg; daughter Darcy Glidewell and son-in-law Dan Glidewell; and grandaughters Natalie Glidewell, Emma Greenberg and Abby Greenberg.
A testament to his legacy, Greenberg’s family asked that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to the Floor Covering Industry Foundation. Brodsky said Greenberg’s lifelong commitment to floor covering retailers, employees and the business as a whole will be continued as CCA moves into the future.
“Alan was a person of great integrity and warmth and was a true visionary,” Brodsky said. “It is rare in life for a person to live his dream, and Alan and I were able to live our dream together.”