Arsallan Oriental Rugs

Staff Writer
Columbus Monthly

Arsallan Afkhami, 50

Owner, Arsallan Oriental Rugs

238 W. Olentangy St., Powell


Q: Your family has been in the rug-selling business for a long time, yes?

A: At one point, we operated in three continents. We were in Africa, Europe and the United States.

Q: Can you explain how you view rugs as art?

A: Oriental rugs-just like a good painting, just like a good sculpture-have been weaved by somebody who put a lot of heart into it. Every rug here has a story I can relay to my client. Part of the ambiance of every old rug I sell is the history behind it.

Q: What types of rugs do you carry?

A: I travel the world, and I carry rugs from around the world -- China, Russia, India, Palestine, Persia, Turkey. And I carry rugs from brand new to period pieces. What I concentrate on when I go buying is I want to sell my clients a piece of rug that's not something they can find in a department store. Or if their best friend or sister or aunt falls in love with it, they'll spend the next two to three years looking for it and not find it.

Q: How much do they cost?

A: I have rugs from $100 to over half a million dollars.

Q: What's your theory on sales?

A: I don't have sales. I give you the best value for your dollar.

Q: What's your theory on quality?

A: If you buy quality, it lasts the longest. It never goes out of style. And it's the cheapest product you end up buying. Let's say you spent $1,000 on a rug that lasts you three years, or $3,000 on a rug that lasts you 30. Which was the better value?

Q: You recently hired an employee, and what you told him says a lot about how you operate as an owner. Will you share with people what you said to him?

A: I'm the cook, the busboy, the chef, the hostess -- the whole ball of wax. And I would never ask you to do anything I haven't done.

Q: Where are you from?

A: I'm from Maryland originally, but I'm the product of a Russian and an Iranian parent.

Q: You actually have a degree in architecture. How does that help you in this business?

A: I work with a lot of interior designers, because I understand scale. And not just two-dimensional scale, three-dimensional scale.

Q: Of all the places you've traveled, what is your favorite?

A: I'm fascinated by the Japanese and the Japanese culture, because they strive for perfection. That's a good goal for all of us -- for me, for my business.