Prater's Flooring: Made in Chattanooga
by Latricia Thomas, @LatriciaTNC9
Piece by piece, the maple panels of the final four floor are placed together like pieces of a puzzle at Prater's Flooring.
"we are putting our workmanship out to the masses," says John Prater. Prater's Flooring in Chattanooga brings in the panels from Michigan and then puts all hands on deck to spruce them up to championship level.
John says, "there's a lot of pride, not just for me but for all the employees that have worked very hard to produce this particular floor."
In a time lapse video, the floor for the men's games in Atlanta comes together in minutes, but in real life the planning started months before Selection Sunday... using a technique that Prater's was the first to try. "We decided in the early 90's to invest in computer equipment and I started designing floors for people," Prater says. "There were no real logos on floors and we started the trend of doing oversize logos."
And after the 4 by 8 panels are positioned and locked together, those designs come to life. Using these blue vinyl stencils that Prater's designs and cuts in-house.
"The vinyl mask is applied it is cut to where we can just apply the paint, once the vinyl is taken up then we can cut the other layers of vinyl over the top to get the look that we want."
In the case of the women's floor, it's a look that's one of a kind. "this is my favorite floor that we've done, it really sets the venue apart from all others."
So when the eight remaining teams hit the hardwood in Atlanta and New Orleans this weekend they'll be playing on a 700-square foot canvas of Chattanooga artwork seen by basketball fans around the world. "We all look at the floors, we are basketball fans, too but we look at the floors."
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