Photos courtesy of Luis Perez / Hero Flooring LLC
By discovering and pursuing his true passion of being a custom basketball court designer, Luis Perez of Hero Flooring LLC in Atlanta is growing a successful business, creating meaningful artwork, and generating excitement and newfound pride for communities across the country.
“You’re always told to do what you love, and by working with hardwood floors, I have been able to do that, but at the same time, I think I’m creating a unique niche for myself,” explains Perez. “As a full-service floor company, I certainly can install, sand, refinish, or lace wood back into floors as necessary. Having those foundational skills is crucial, but then being able to tie that in with my more artistic side through painting has made choosing this career even more rewarding.”
Perez first discovered his more artistic side while partnering with Project Backboard and artist Carlos Rolon on a project to replicate one of Rolon’s paintings on a basketball court at a Boys and Girls Club in the east side of Chicago.
“Soon after, I worked on another project where I donated a large portion of my work to get the job done. When I saw the reaction to that, especially from the kids who saw the floor, I really grasped how much it meant to the community. It profoundly changed my perspective and gave me a renewed sense of purpose,” explains Perez.
Luis Perez of Hero Flooring LLC in Atlanta is growing a successful business
and pursuing his true passion of being a custom basketball court designer.
Reflecting on his experience in that community, Perez came up with a design he calls the “shatter.”
“It’s a series of broken shapes that have been put back together in an organized fashion,” explains Perez. “The idea comes from looking at the trauma that we go through sometimes as children. As we grow into adults, we have to work to put those pieces back together so we can thrive and move forward in our lives with purpose and beauty.”
Perez has taken this “shatter” theme nationwide, with two basketball courts in Atlanta, one in Chicago, one in Cincinnati, and another in Dayton, Ohio. He also plans on putting one in Austin, Texas, next month.
“The design is custom each time, as I do it freehand onto the wood. I do bigger shapes at first, then go in with tape and start breaking those bigger shapes down,” says Perez. “I find they get a bit more intricate, and each one seems to turn out crazier than the last one. What does not change is the feeling that I get when I do them. The moment where the design goes down onto the wood is such a great feeling.”
Perez says that by focusing on something he is passionate about and giving back to communities in need, he’s getting a reward that he cannot put a price on.
“I’m 29 years old, and ten years ago, I never would have believed where I am at today. Nothing happens overnight, but with hard work and loving what you do, you will be successful,” says Perez. “Don’t just chase financial gain. If you can find something you love within your chosen field, the money will come.”
Perez is careful to stress that even though this is a passion project, there is a lot of hard work involved.
“You only get out what you put in, and I most certainly apply that to my hardwood flooring career. I think you also have to not be afraid to fail. You have to fail to become successful,” explains Perez. “There will be ups and downs as you expand, but I promise you the highs will feel higher when you succeed.”
Perez says the reactions are amazing, not only for his artwork, but also for the excitement and sense of pride that the floors generate.
“I think the excitement comes from the fact that it’s more than just a floor. You’re bringing new life to the building and pride to the neighborhood. People are going to want to come to the basketball game to check the new floor out. Kids are going to want to play sports because they have a fantastic court to play on,” says Perez. “You never know what your work will spark within someone. The floors mean the world not only to the people who work and play on them, but to me as well.”
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