WOODBURY — Douglas Samaha, owner of Samaha Oriental Rugs, 744 Main St. South, recently announced his retirement. He told Voices that he is inviting loyal customers and new clients to enjoy a special discount. “If you purchase any single rug, I will discount it by 55% off the marked price. If you buy more than one rug, I will take an extra 10% off your entire purchase.” He added, “If you have ever admired one or more of my beautiful rugs, now is the time to take it home with you at the lowest possible price.”
He is experiencing mixed emotions as he closes the Woodbury store. “Being in my store amongst so many pieces of floor art has always been a great pleasure. I will miss the joy it brings me when I see each and every one of my customers come in and share their rugs with me as well as your life experiences.”
Mr. Samaha feels that those who have purchased rugs from him or brought their rugs to seek his professional repair and washing services are his extended family.
“When I made an email announcement to clients, the response was immediate. I think I had 30 email replies [quickly], saying that my clients would miss me very much, but they understood my decision. Some said I deserved the rest and others said they hoped I’d enjoy retirement.”
He added, “Many customers have asked who will take care of their rugs. They trust me with their treasures and I’m going to continue offering my services until I close the doors for good on November 1. That should relieve their minds as a good washing can last five to 10 years, sometimes longer.
“I have been blessed to carry on my grandparents’ and father’s business for the last 43 years,” Mr. Samaha said, noting that the business began in 1926 and he has hung his father’s portrait in a conspicuous place.
“I think my grandfather would be sad to see the business close, but I’m happy to see my daughters follow their own career paths. I think my father would have been very proud of what we as a family have done for our community.”
While he has seen the rug market turn toward a positive trend and the floor coverings might be a good investment, he never advises anyone to make a purchase solely for financial reasons. “Yes, it’s a great time to invest in an antique rug, but you should buy one to enjoy it for the rest of your life and perhaps hand it down to your children.”
The rugs in Samaha Oriental Rugs are all handmade and all wool, with a mix of new and antique offerings.
The store is currently stocked with new and antique rugs in all sizes, designs and colors.
“There is beauty in these objects and they give a lot of joy,” Mr. Samaha said. “It’s taken time to build this collection and this is an opportunity to see an incredible variety of antique Caucasian, Persian and Turkish rugs, all under one roof. This store is a sea of beauty to me and most of the people who walk in are awestruck. They say it’s like being a kid in a candy store.”
Mr. Samaha enjoys rediscovering the vibrant colors of a rug as he washes it and recognizing where the rug came from and who wove it.
“I like doing the research and learning. I still don’t know everything but, sometimes, clients ask how I know that a particular piece is from 1920. They’ve always been part of my life and I’ve seen thousands of rugs, both working here and growing up. I’m happy to share that history so when someone buys a rug, they’re getting more than a floor covering.”
His house is full of the rugs. “I won’t just stop loving these examples of floor art. They’ll always be part of my life, I just won’t be working with them in the store.”
Samaha Oriental Rugs is open from noon to 5 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday or by appointment.
More information is available by calling 203-228-4868.