Saturday, April 25, 2009

Ervin-Cevik Imports, Mooresville, Va

Unique friendship blooms within Mooresville store



Published: April 24, 2009

To business partners Rick Ervin and Vedat Cevik, their Mooresville rug store is more than a retail outlet; it's the reflection of a friendship that brought the two men together.

Although the doors to Ervin-Cevik Imports – specializing in both handmade and reproduced Turkish rugs and carpets –opened in November 2008, the story that brought both men to downtown Mooresville began years earlier in western Iraq.

Vedat Cevik, a native of Adana, Turkey, was running a rug store on a United States military base at Al Asad in Iraq when Rick Ervin, a Troutman native, wandered in.

Cevik was 17 and a fourth generation rug maker and salesman, carrying on the trade from his father. Ervin was a 54-year-old American contractor, working in Iraq with a strong interest in Oriental rugs.

The two met by chance.

In Turkey, said both Cevik and Ervin, a rug store is more than a retailer; it's a comfortable environment where people relax for hours at a time, sharing stories over cigars and cups of tea.

"I started hanging out at the rug store," said Ervin. "Even bought a rug or two."

Cevik jokingly responded, "I gave him a good deal."

Gradually, the two men formed a friendship over mutual interests.

Since his first Oriental rug purchase in 1983, Ervin said he'd always had a unique love for the handmade rugs and carpets created far from his American home. And Cevik – a man who grew up next to an American air force base in Turkey – said he dreamt of living in the United States, always yearning to relocate his life to a place he'd only seen in the movies.

In 2006, with a strong friendship as the backbone of their business-partner relationship, Ervin began helping Cevik obtain a work visa to come to the U.S. Two years later, in November 2008, the Turkish man finally made his journey to Mooresville and Ervin-Cevik Imports opened for business.

Individually, said Ervin, the men bring different qualities to their new business.

"He's got the expertise and the drive," said Ervin. "I just love rugs. I've learned a lot from him."

But Cevik, now 21, said he's experiencing his dream of living in the United States, even if he's yet to venture beyond the Mooresville region.

"I like Mooresville," Cevik said. "I'm going to stay here. I'm not going back to Turkey."

Ervin said his family – which includes his wife Margo, a daughter and granddaughter – practically "adopted" Cevik the moment he arrived, welcoming him into their home.

Currently Cevik is regularly taking English language courses at Mitchell Community College to obtain his GED. After that, he wants to pursue a degree at MCC.

"I hope to stay here for a long time," he said.

As for their store, business has been slow thus far, but as word continues to spread throughout the community, Ervin said he hopes the rug retailer flourishes.

"We knew going into this it was going to take a year," he said, noting that the men find it more important to create a welcoming, relaxing environment within their store, similar to the rug outlets in Turkey.

Added Ervin, "We try to make it a warm, inviting place."

Regularly welcoming passersby into their store for a cup of apple tea, Cevik said they don't really "sell" rugs and carpets. "The carpet chooses you," he said. "I just show you."

Cevik and Ervin offer a variety of handmade and machine-made replicas of Turkish and other Oriental rugs, carpets, scarves, tablecloths and pillowcases. Their rugs cost from $200 to $9,000.

Also, on the second Friday of each month, the store offers a "rug-buying class" at 6 p.m. where guests can learn about "what to look for when you're buying a rug."

Ervin-Cevik Imports, 240 N. Main St., is open Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and by appointment each Sunday.

For more information, contact them at 704-660-1100 or Ervin-CevikImports@hotmail.com

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