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The Persian Carpet Team

You've met the family - now meet the whole team that live the dream!
So....Who does what?

Nelda Lay. The 'Big Boss'. The Back-Bone Of TPC.

Nelda Lay Headshot

Nelda is the backbone of the business. Starting with only a handful of rugs some forty years ago, under her guiding eye the business has grown to become one of the preeminent oriental rug businesses in the United States.

Nelda hails from Louisiana where she attended LSU and trained to become a schoolteacher. She taught for four years in the tough streets of Chicago so she is no pushover. When she was at LSU she also met her future husband, Doug, with whom she had two daughters - Christen and Cynthia. When Doug returned from research undertaken in Iran he would bring back high quality rugs and Nelda decided that there was potential for good business in the rug world. Nelda established The Persian Carpet and, in the true spirit of America, turned a small business into a sizeable interest, which has provided a livelihood for many people over the years.

As 'The Boss', Nelda runs a tight ship. She does the books, pays the bills, and signs the checks. At the end of the day, if an executive order has to be made, then she is the person in charge. And if any of you telemarketers out there think you have a soft target with this elegant Southern Belle then be warned - when it comes down to the crunch she is a Steel Magnolia!

Doug Lay. The 'Other Boss'. The Creative Genius Of TPC.

Doug Lay Headshot

As most of us know a relationship is all about 'balance', and here at The Persian Carpet it is no different - Doug is the 'Yin' to Nelda's 'Yang'. A lot of customers are mystified as to what Doug actually does here at The Persian Carpet, mainly because, whenever they call for him he is never here. He has always 'disappeared' into the ether and no-one knows quite where he has gone or when he will be back. But hey, that is how Doug rolls!

The fact of the matter is that Doug pretty much does some of everything here. No job is too menial. He washes rugs. He maintains the building. He changes the lights. He flips stacks until his back breaks. Not many bosses do such chores - he is a truly humble man.

But, more importantly, Doug makes things happen! What I mean by this is that Doug is always thinking about what the business can do to expand. Doug is the main brain behind the lines of rugs that we manufacture at The Persian Carpet and distribute around the country. The Arts & Crafts Line, The Dreamcatcher Line, The Pendleton Lines, these are all Doug's ideas and are the result of many years of labor on his part, involving countless trips to India to make design ideas become rug realities. These great rug lines, which comprise a significant proportion of the business, are primarily the result of Doug's tireless efforts.

A final word on Doug. It is fair to say that, along with Nelda, he is the 'personality' of the business. He is welcoming, charming, always witty and entertaining, always upbeat and positive, and no-one who has ever had the good fortune to meet him ever forgets him. As the Cockney's would say, he is a rare diamond geezer!

Cynthia McLaren. The 'Little Boss'. Advertising and Southwestern Lines.

Cynthia McLaren Headshot

Just as Cynthia is the biological product of Doug and Nelda, she incorporates a blend of their personalities and work ethics. Just like her Dad, she functions like a dynamo, getting done in a day what most people get done in a week. She literally throws herself into her work and also makes things happen.

Cynthia has a lot on her plate. First of all, she is a total fox, and having people mistake you for a model all the time can be a bit of a drag. But she is also a mother of two, is responsible for all of the advertising at The Persian Carpet (which is a very considerable amount of work), and is also responsible for coordinating the Dreamcatcher Line and Pendleton Lines of rugs that we manufacture. Doug is the ideas man, but Cynthia puts those thoughts into action, working with trade representatives, going to trade shows, and keeping a handle on this rapidly growing part of the business.

Somehow, in the midst of this maelstrom of activity, she also finds the time to work with customers who come in the store, and always has the energy to greet them with a big and sincere smile. As I said, she is also extremely good-looking. I married her so I should know.

Bruce McLaren. Social Media and Websites.

Bruce McLaren Headshot

The less said about Bruce - that is me - perhaps the better. I am responsible for the Social Media - the two websites that we run ( and, the facebook pages for both of these websites, the twittering, and other related social-media thingamabobs...

Let's face the facts. Bruce was pretty much given this job because he married the bosses daughter. He does have a Ph.D. in Middle Eastern Archaeology but that, unfortunately, qualifies him for diddly-squat! On the plus side his ten years of academic research furnished him with a modicum of intelligence (at least, enough to fulfill his job description). He is also an Australian, which is considered a plus or a minus depending on who you speak with. He also harbors literary aspirations, but, quite frankly, who doesn't. Don't worry, me, one day you will receive the Nobel Prize...

Steve Williams. Operations Manager ('Black-Ops') and 'To The Trade' Liaison.

Steve Williams Headshot

Meet Steve - a man of many parts. Attempting to do justice to the talents of the man is akin to catching lightning in a bottle.

Steve is like the head-surgeon at the nerve-center of The Persian Carpet, buzzing away like an electric current in order to keep our computer systems functioning and up-to-date. His work is important, because if the computer system crashes then the whole edifice follows. Steve would like a dollar for every day he has been off work and received a phone-call along the lines of 'Hi Steve, I know this is your day off but the computers have crashed, and we were wondering if you could...' (you know the rest).

But Steve never fails to handle each crisis with steady hand and level head, a Rock of Gibraltar in a raging storm. Such self-assurance translates into his other major role here at The Persian Carpet, where he is liaison 'To The Trade'. In this role he works closely with the many Professional Designers who grace our doors. Before their questions have even tumbled from their lips Steve knows what they want and how to get it. A turn of the century Serapi in mint condition? No problem. A fine nomadic Gabbeh with burnt umber accents on an indigo blue field? You can tell by the glint in those deep blue eyes that Steve already has the answers.

Beyond the deep-wells of knowledge, mention must be made of the style of delivery, for Steve is no taciturn monk! Rather, he is a silver-tongued conversationalist who will cause your thoughts to drift as mysteriously as the sands in more oriental climes. Before you know it, hours have passed in a blissful and rejuvenating spiritual repose.

Barak Rutledge. Logistics Manager and Dealer Liaison.

Barak Rutledge Headshot

Meet Barak, at the tender-age of thirty-four, the young whipper-snapper of the business. Barak has a lot going for him. He is young and single, blessed with handsome looks and a razor-sharp wit, with a brain like a computer and a lightening sharp sense of humor, they even decided to name the President after him!

In all seriousness, young Rutledge - as I like to call - is no mug. He is a UNC graduate with a photographic memory. Here at the The Persian Carpet we have an inventory of over 7000 rugs and Barak knows where each and every one of those rugs is to be found. If you think I am exaggerating then come in and test him yourself.

But Barak's knowledge goes far beyond that. You can dream up the most obscure type of antique oriental rug and Barak will know where to go to find it. This is hardly surprising considering that Barak began working here at the tender age of 15. As he himself says, “The Persian Carpet is the only home I've ever known”. As a side-line, he also happens to be responsible for all of the shipping logistics that must be dealt with here at the business.

As the only bachelor at The Persian Carpet all of the other old fuddy-duddies like to live vicariously through Barak's shenanigans. Barak actually goes out on 'dates'! He also does other things that single people get to do, like biking, cooking Thai dishes, sampling Kolsch beers, and going to Norwegian Metal concerts....There was a time when I used to do those sorts of things myself!

Alberto Balderas. Sales Associate and Cleaning Specialist.

Alberto Balderas Headshot

Meet Alberto, the younger brother of Antonio Banderas. Most of the time Alberto is to be found towards the rear of the premises, not so much because he is overseeing all of the rug cleaning operations that are undertaken at The Persian Carpet, but because too many of our female clientele have a tendency to faint as soon as they see him. Good looks you see - a blessing and a curse!

But Alberto is a whole lot more than just a pretty face! He has a voracious thirst for all forms of knowledge, which, not only means that he is an authority on textile cleaning, but is remarkably well-informed about everything from financial markets to post-beat literature, is fluent in both Spanish and English, and is learning Italian and German for fun! Alberto is a highly motivated person and has put himself through college on top of holding a job and providing for his family. A tip of the hat to Alberto! The smart money says that Alberto may be destined for greater things....

Jan Ali. Rug Repair Specialist and All-Around Rug Guru.

Jan Ali Headshot

Meet Jan Ali. Jan Ali is as old as the sands of time - perhaps even older - he won't say so we don't know. Jan Ali is a Kazakh who traces his lineage back to Chinngis Khan, but, sometimes just for fun he tells people he is an Eskimo - everyone believes him! Jan Ali has led an exceptional life and has walked the length and breadth of the Asian Continent. In the process he has accumulated a vast knowledge of rugs borne of the best school of all - real life! You are bound to have a more authentic knowledge of nomadic rugs if you have seen the nomads making the rugs. When you enter the shop, Jan sits there quietly in the corner, assiduously making his repairs, and blends so well into the surrounds that most people don't even know he is there. He is a chameleon. Jan Ali has been with The Persian Carpet for a good thirty years and we are very fortunate to have such an expert gracing us with his presence!

So, there you have it. The back-bone, the bread-and-butter, the nuts and bolts, that make The Persian Carpet run and hum. Although each person plays a specific role here at the business I would like to emphasize that each and every one of us is amply qualified to help you in any aspect of your rug needs. When you walk in the red doors between the two camels any of the above people may meet you with a welcome smile and the ability to assist you. Our brains are all on call - three BA's, two MA's, two Ph.D.'s, a Professorship AND a Guru - all at your beck and call.