WALL TO WALL

BY BARRY WALDMAN | PHOTOGRAPHY BY HOLGER OBENAUS

Most of Hassan Khoshroo’s customers at Atlas Rug Gallery in Fort Worth have bought handmade rugs from him before. Repeat business is the result of above-and-beyond customer service, a wide selection to choose from, and fair prices for beautiful works of art that transform the rooms in which they reside. Maybe that’s why the first thing many returning customers do is hug him.

Case in point: One customer bought a few carpets from Khoshroo at his store on Camp Bowie Boulevard 26 years ago and then moved away. When he returned two decades later, Khoshroo shocked him by remembering his name and the rugs he had purchased.

“When someone walks in I treat them like they deserve to be treated, whether they buy a rug or not,” Khoshroo says.

In fact, Atlas Rug will let you take home a handful of rugs and try them out. A rug of a particular color and style, no matter how beautiful in the showroom, might not work in the room for which it’s being purchased. Khoshroo wants his customers to be delighted with their choices.

“You’re buying a rug, not a decoration in a store,” he notes. When it comes to fine, hand-knotted Oriental rugs, it’s hard to find an expert with the provenance of Hassan Khoshroo. A 19th-generation rug dealer (yes, that’s a halfmillennium of family business), Khoshroo grew up in Iran learning the trade in his father’s store. He immigrated to the United States and opened Atlas Rug Gallery 31 years ago.

Khoshroo returns to the Middle East regularly, buying directly from rug makers practicing the ancient art in Iran. He deals with families he knows, cutting out the middleman. He also buys rugs from Afghanistan, Pakistan, Turkey, India and China.

The colorful wool rugs in the Atlas Rug showroom take months to produce and last hundreds of years. When you walk into the store, you can expect a warm greeting and an education. Atlas Rug provides appraisals, rug cleaning and other services. And, it will buy back or trade a rug that no longer fits your home or lifestyle. Whatever business you conduct with Atlas Rug, Khoshroo and his team will share their expertise. Khoshroo even provides his cellphone number in case you have questions when you get home.

His tips for buying a rug include: Never buy a cheap modern or machine-made rug. It will not hold its color or stand up to traffic. Don’t buy a fashionable color, like bright yellow, pink or purple, which you will tire of. Match the rug you buy with your furniture. If you’re buying the rug before you have furniture, match the furniture to the rug. Ask lots of questions. Where was it made? What kind of wool was used? What kind of dye? How should you clean it? Finally, touch the wool. The softer the wool, the longer it will last.

A 400-year-old rug sold at auction in 2013 for nearly $34 million, but Atlas sells most of its rugs for $2,500 – $3,500. The oldest known carpet, at 2,500 years old, was found on the Russia-Mongolia border in 1949 and hangs in Moscow’s Hermitage Museum. A handmade replica of the 39-square-foot rug hangs in the Khoshroohouse.

Persian rugs are in Hassan Khoshroo’s blood, and thousands of them are in his impressive showroom. He almost always loves to share these spectacular creations with others. Almost always.

“Sometimes I love a rug so much, it’s one of a kind, and I feel bad selling it,” he says. “I think, ‘I will miss this rug.’ But if I walk into a house and see a rug I sold, I get very excited.”

Barry Waldman is principal of Big Fly Communications, a PR/marketing firm for nonprofits and small businesses.