For over 100 years, and three generations, the Eways family has been providing the finest area rugs, rug care and maintenance. The name Eways is synonymous with hard work, quality products, stellar customer service and is nationally recognized as one of the best in the business. Now located on Moore Road in Ruckersville, the story of Frank S. Eways Oriental Rugs and Gallery started on the other side of the world. In Palestine, to be precise.
Salem M. Eways was born in the Middle East around 1900. By the late 1920’s the Palestine native decided to move to the US in search for a better life for himself and his growing family. He landed in New York City, where he began selling fine textiles door-to-door. It didn’t take long before he realized he had a knack for cleaning and repairing rugs. Soon after, Salem M. Eways began selling them, too. He didn’t know it at the time, but it would be the start of an enduring family business.
With lots of hard work, elbow grease and ahead of its time marketing techniques, Salem opened op four successful stores in the Pennsylvania region. After a visit to Charlottesville, he fell in love with the town and moved his business to Old Ivy Road.
“My grandfather passed away before I was born,” Frank Eways Jr. said. He is the third generation of the Eways family leading the company. “Although I never knew him, my dad would tell me lots of stories about him. He was an exceptional man.”
First, Salem was as strong as a bull. “He would carry big and heavy rugs all by himself. He would just carry them on his back,” Eways Jr. said. “In the store, we need three people to do that.”
Second, he was a true marketing master, Eways Jr said. “In Pennsylvania, he would put out a beautiful Persian rug out on the street. Day in, day out, he would put it in front of his store. After a while, he would clean half of the rug, showing the power of his work. That made an impression on people.”
Third, he believed in good and honest customer service. “My grandfather would always say to never underestimate the power of great customer service. It builds relationships and by cultivating relationships, you build a successful business.”
It’s that philosophy that still holds true today. Visit the gallery on Moore Road in Ruckersville and you are greeted by a friendly face even before you make it into the store. “It’s what our grandfather taught us,” Eways Jr. said.
Salem passed away in the late 1960’s and soon after his son Frank Eways Sr., at the time a State Trooper in Pennsylvania, gave up his law enforcement career to carry to torch. He eventually moved the business to Emmet Street, across from Bodo’s Bagels. “There, he grew the business to one of the largest sellers of oriental rugs in the United States,” Eways Jr. said. “He really put us on the map. His credentials in the rug business are more than impressive.”
Frank Eways Sr. would serve two terms as President of the Oriental Rug Retailers of America (ORRA), was an expert witness for the FBI and appeared on the Today Show with Bryant Gumbel for initiating a marking system used by the FBI to identify lost or stolen oriental rugs. He also appeared on ABC Prime Time Show with Chris Wallace, was interviewed by Barbara Walters for the program 20/20 and was inducted in the Oriental Rug Retailers Hall of Fame in Los Angeles. And the list goes on.
Eways Jr. was born in 1971 and from an early age he was involved in, and mesmerized by, the family business led by his dad. “One of my earliest memories is sitting in the lap of one of the employees who’s fixing an oriental rug. I have an old picture of me when I was six months old sitting on a beautiful rug in the store. That rug is still with us, in my parents’ home.”
That memory might very well be the essence of what the business is about. “It’s about quality. We have rugs that are a hundred years old and still look fantastic. People shouldn’t be afraid to invest in quality. A rug can make a house a home.”
Frank Eways Jr. took the helm of the family business when his dad decided to retire in 2012. Just like his dad before him, Eways Jr. is an ORRA certified appraiser, meaning he can identify and value oriental rugs from all over the world.
Many of the rugs in the Ruckersville store on Moore Road come from places like Iran, Turkey, India, Pakistan and Russia and are all hand-woven. “The rugs are pieces of art and the process of making a rug is an art form. A true art form, just like painting is an art form. It can take up to a year to make a single rug.”
The company also specializes in cleaning and repairing rugs. They provide pickup and delivery as well as organic in-home cleaning of your rugs.
In a time where Amazon and other big retailers are dominating ‘the market place’, Eways Jr. said that people more than ever are tempted to choose a cheap option over quality. “I’ll say it again; a good rug can make a house a home. And a quality rug can take a beating. If you treat it well, a rug can last a lifetime. That’s what I’m advocating. Don’t be afraid to invest in quality, because it will be worth it in the long run.”
Frank Eways Jr. is convinced that the story of his family business is a true example of The American Dream. Standing on the shoulder of giants, Eways Jr. is proud of what his family business represents.
“It’s like my grandfather instilled on my dad and my dad passed on to me,” he said. “Work hard, stand by your product and respect your clients. That’s how a local business is able to grow.”
Frank S. Eways Fine Rugs & Gallery
347 Moore Road, Ruckersville