Dalton is the nicest ‘bowl of fish’ you’ll ever meet

Emily Morrow With Friends

The Carpet Capital of the World  My hometown, Dalton, Georgia as published in Floor Covering Weekly “The Flooring Belt” Issue

By, Morgan Bulman 

*With some inserted comments of my own that were shared in our FUN interview!!! Thank you Morgan for telling our story!!!

There’s no place like (MY) hometown…Dalton, Georgia…

Some fact, some fun — what makes Dalton a great place to live…

Nearly everyone who lives in Dalton — roughly 34,000 people to be exact, according to the most recent U.S. census survey — has been touched by the flooring industry. It’s the heart of where business comes from, noted Emily Morrow Finkell, CEO of Emily Morrow Home. Because what originally started as a sought-after skill of hand tufting bedspreads later blossomed into an industrial tufting technology that now supports a thriving manufacturing town. 

For those who have never heard of Dalton or are strong-minded not to reside there, Emily Morrow Finkell — born and raised in Dalton, Ga. — would argue that, “you don’t know what you don’t know.” Dalton has a reputation for being a fishbowl, yet she admonishes it’s the nicest bowl of fish you’ll ever meet. And other residents agree that it’s the people that make Dalton truly special. 

Morrow Finkell emphasized that industry friends show up. She wishes she could address all the misconceptions of Dalton — of everyone in the industry always in fierce competition with each other — because it’s not at all what people imagine, she argued. “When someone gets married, passes away or there is a birth of a child, we know because we care, love and look out for each other,” she continued. “We’re all connected in the flooring industry — even though we work at competing companies, we all ask how the parents are or if you have the grandchildren today, we are one ginormous family. We’ll pull and root for each other.”

“My first industry-related job at PatCraft in 2002 was the result of competitors supporting each other. Evelyn Myers (of Myers Carpet) graciously recruited me to join a project she had taken on…to contribute to the restoration of an iconic home she had purchase. I was excited to be able to be a part of the project as one of the guest designers for the Judd House. This happened shortly after I had moved back to Dalton after 13 years away and having to start over my interior design business from scratch. It was through the work and time spent working on The Judd House that I met several people who were later instrumental in hiring me at Shaw. Mrs. Myers recognized her influence to help others, including me. I shall never forget that and hope to be able to emulate that quality in my own life’s journey. Everyone (here) is supportive of each other’s enterprises and causes —” — Emily Morrow Finkell, CEO of Emily Morrow Home 

“From our house in Rocky Face to my office in Dalton, I count the number of eighteen-wheeler trucks to gauge how things are going,” Morrow Finkell shared. “Some mornings I get teary eyed by the number because I remember when there were hardly any trucks passing through at all. They represent “enterprise”, either raw materials, an order, a pickup or a delivery and that to me is the best indicator of growth.”


Cyra’s is where you’ll run into practically everyone is the industry!


Today, out-of-towners have ample choices for a good bite to eat

Here, FCW and FRIENDS list out a few hot spots residents either return to time and time again as loyal customers themselves or have proven to wow visitors:

1. Hamiltons — A longstanding favor- ite, Emily Morrow Finkell likes to recite that it’s a part of industry history where visitors were brought to after the Cellar (and Cornerstone Grill, Planet of the Grapes and others) went out of business.

2. Cyra’s – When the team at Floor Covering Weekly is looking for something on the fancier side, or even just a particularly outstanding bottle of wine, Cyra’s is a reliable go-to and a spot where you’re guaranteed to run into someone you know. The owners are not just friends, they are friends whom we count as “family”, TJ Kaikobad. TJ is well-known and loved in our community and also owns Baja Coop (just south of Cyra’s on Hamilton Street) and is planning to open another new restaurant in late 2019 or early 2020. *I don’t know if the new place’s identity is secret so for now I’ll leave the name and location out of this post. 

3. Cherokee Brewing and Pizza Company — Kacey Carpenter, owner of a local lunch destination Oakwood, recently opened a new restaurant known for its pizza and beer; Mike Sanderson of Engineered Floors recommends trying the Mango IPA. On the weekends, it’s a good place to hang out and listen to live music.

4. Lisa’s Café — Lisa’s is a staple of the Kiker-Morrow-Finkell family. “The waiters there know my dad likes buttermilk, so upon his arrival they’ll bring him a tall glass and a platter of cornbread before asking if he wants his usual — catfish.”

5. Dalton Brewing Co. — A local haunt and often the last stop of a group run or kickball game, Dalton Brewing Co. is an essential craft beer watering hole. The owners are engineers (the science behind a good draft is not beyond them), including Deanna Mathis, who also works for Shaw.

6.The Mill at Crown Garden — A new favorite, Nicki Rayburn noted The Mill is “an 1800s-era cotton mill completely renovated with a mixed assortment of restaurants, bars, a coffee lounge and local boutiques” and added, “the atmosphere is amazing.”