ASHTABULA — S&B Floor Covering features one of the largest selections of carpet, tile, hardwood and vinyl in northeast Ohio. 

Established in 1986, owner Otis Sandidge’s reputation is built on providing customers with “quality flooring at a minimum price,” he said.

Sandidge purchased the business in 1986 after hearing John Beninato, who owned Beninato Flooring on Main Avenue, was looking for help. He hired Sandidge and, soon after, the two men owned floor covering businesses side by side. 

“We were two separate (businesses) and then we merged,” he said. “That’s where we got the S and the B (in S&B).”

Sandidge takes pride in the business he’s been running for 31 years on Main Avenue. He believes he owes his success to a blessing from God.

“I’m a Christian and I believe it’s not about me,” he said. “It’s about making others’ lives better.” 

 An Ashtabula native, Sandidge was a star athlete in school and graduated in 1967 from Ashtabula High School with a football scholarship to Ohio University in Athens. He majored in secondary education because he wanted to be a teacher and a coach. 

After graduating in 1971 from OU, he took a

construction superintendent job, mostly working in the South. 

“I learned to appreciate the season changes in Ohio after living where it was sunny every day,” he said. “I think we love our summers more because we have to go through winters.”

When he returned to Ashtabula, he coached at Ashtabula High School for more than 13 years. He worked as a supervisor at Rockwell International in Saybrook Township until they closed.

 While collecting unemployment, he found work at the unemployment office. That’s where he heard about Beninato’s job opening.

Sandidge said having his own business and being his own boss is a good fit with him because he’s “a people person” and he loves working in his hometown.

“I love the town, my church and the people in it,” he said. 

Upon reflection, Sandidge said he believes the flooring business has changed over the years.

Today, the work is 85 percent commercial and 15 percent residential and, like everything else, computers and the internet have made bidding and planning jobs in and out of town much easier. 

On Thursday, Sandidge was working on a project in Cleveland, where a developer is turning a vacant bank building into luxury suites.

In S&B’s office at 4217 Main Ave., Sandidge employs four people. On the job, the number of employees depends on the size of the job. If he needs more workers, he calls the union hall and they will send people out, he said.

Even after 31 years of being a successful downtown business owner, Sandidge still has a surprise in store for local residents. He’s adding “game rooms” to the north end of the building, but it’s still in the planning stages, he said.

When he’s not at work, Sandidge still enjoys a good football game even if he’s not on the field or coaching. He’s a fan of Cleveland sports, admitting the Browns can be tough to watch sometimes, “but at least now we have a football team,” he said. 

When the weather is nice, he likes to play golf. He drives a Lexus SUV and a Honda, but his favorite vehicle is his late mother’s 1986 Cadillac with only 21,000 miles on it.

When he goes out to eat, he most likely will order “surf and turf,” he said.

Sandidge is single and the father two grown children. 

He’s also a deacon at People’s Missionary Baptist Church on West Avenue, and he’s a member of the Ashtabula County District Library’s board of directors. He believes the library’s $4 million expansion is one of the city’s greatest treasures.