DOVER — There’s nothing quite like snuggling up with a book on a warm, cozy rug and letting the words take over your imagination.
That’s why Tom Sopkanich, store manager at Airbase Carpet & Tile Mart in Dover, is so proud of his parent company for once again sponsoring its Teacher Appreciation Free Rug Giveaway before the new school year begins.
Airbase/Lomax Carpet & Tile Mart, an independent flooring, carpet and rug retailer, is honoring teachers this back-to-school season and will be providing a free area rug to be used in classrooms to the first 50 teachers who visit one of the chain’s 13 flooring superstores on Saturday, Aug. 20, from 8 until 9 a.m.
Mr. Sopkanich knows what teachers deal with every day. His son, John, is the director of instrumental music at William Penn High School in New Castle.
“My son is a teacher and they’re always asking the teachers to bring stuff in that the school couldn’t pay for, so this helps them in their classroom and makes a nice little warm place for the kids to read,” Mr. Sopkanich said. “This is probably about the fourth year that we’ve participated in this.
“It’s always a pretty popular event except for that year when COVID was really bad, but other than that it’s been an outstanding, big success.”
To receive a free classroom area rug, teachers must appear in person between 8 and 9 a.m. — or while supplies last — on Aug. 20 at any of the Carpet & Tile Mart flooring superstore locations and present a valid teacher ID or certification. The person must match the ID.
Rugs to be given away will be limited to 50 per store location and will vary by color, style and size, with retail values up to $200 per rug. There is no purchase necessary to qualify for a free rug.
There are three Airbase Carpet & Tile Mart flooring superstores in Delaware, including Dover, 257 N. DuPont Highway; Millsboro, 28587 DuPont Boulevard; and New Castle, 230 N. DuPont Highway.
Michael Longwill, president of Carpet & Tile and third-generation owner/operator of the family-owned company, said it is just a small way to show teachers their gratitude for the work that they do.
“Teachers bring incredible value to each of our local communities, and we are grateful for the contribution they tirelessly make, day in and day out, to educate and shape our future neighbors, community members and leaders,” Mr. Longwill said.
“In our 55th year, we’re thrilled to once again have an opportunity to give back in some small way to these classroom heroes through our free rug giveaway, just in time for back-to-school season.”
During the giveaway, Carpet & Tile Mart will be providing at least 650 free rugs for teachers across the area.
Carpet & Tile Mart is a 13-store chain (soon to be 14 with the addition of its newest flooring supercenter in Thorndale, Pennsylvania, this fall) of big-box, flooring superstores headquartered in New Castle.
The chain, founded in 1967 as Airbase Carpet Mart, serves markets in Delaware, Pennsylvania, Maryland, New Jersey and South Carolina, from huge warehouse-showrooms that carry the Airbase, Lomax and Carpet & Tile Mart brand names.
Mr. Longwill stressed that Carpet & Tile Marts will not be profiting in any way from the giveaway.
“Our goal is to show our appreciation for the dedicated service teachers provide for our children,” said Mr. Longwill. “With many budget cuts hurting local school systems, teachers often reach into their own pockets and personally sacrifice to furnish their classrooms.
“We want to recognize in our own small way what the teachers of our community do for our families, especially over the last two years (during the pandemic). In today’s uncertain environment, we can always count on our teachers to be there for our children.”