SAN FRANCISCO − Years ago, Kevin McCaffrey was happily waiting tables at a San Francisco restaurant, so when one of his regular customers offered him a job, he politely refused. Little did he know, he was only delaying the inevitable. “While working as a waiter, I had a regular ask me to come work for his flooring business,” he remembers. “I told him I appreciated the offer but wasn’t interested. After about a year of persistence, he finally told me to name my salary. I said I’d think about it, and the next time he came in, I had a number ready. He told me to start the following week, and 26 years later, I’m still here.”
Today, as sales manager of Armstrong Carpet & Linoleum Co., Kevin says his favorite part of his job is working with customers. “I enjoy sales for the same reason I enjoyed waiting tables: I get the opportunity to interact with the public. Plus, in this line of work you get to see a finished product, which is really rewarding, especially when it’s in conjunction with the customer being happy.”
Originally from Belfast, Ireland, Kevin left his home country when he was 18 years old—a departure that was motivated by a turbulent sociopolitical climate. “In the late ’70s and early ’80s, things in Belfast were quite bad with the bombings and violence, so I wanted to get away from that,” he explains. After spending a year in Canada, Kevin moved to San Francisco, where he continues to reside today. “It’s the greatest city in the world; nothing really compares,” he says. “The food, the culture, the arts, the people…it’s just a wonderful place to be.”
Outside of work, Kevin spends his time enjoying all the city has to offer, especially when it comes to art and culture. “My husband, Guy, and I both love the theater,” he says. “We’re actually going to see the opening of a new opera this Saturday. We also love to travel—we take a trip to Europe every two years, and in between, we’ll often do short trips to Hawaii or Mexico.” Additionally, Kevin likes watching European sports like soccer and keeping up with his and Guy’s daughter, Ryan, who is attending college.
In his life and career, Kevin espouses the importance of being straightforward. “I think it all comes down to treating others the way I’d like to be treated,” he says. “I’m not a slick salesperson who tries to sell customers things they don’t need—in fact, I’d rather lose a sale than do something unethical, because I’m ultimately the one responsible for it. Instead, I tend to come from the perspective of, ‘Would I be willing to do this in my own house?’”
When asked the first thing he’d do if he were to retire tomorrow, Kevin says he’d head back to Europe for an extended stay. “Guy and I would love to have a second home in Portugal or France. He speaks Spanish and we both speak a little French, so that would be pretty convenient. Of course, we’d continue to keep a home here in San Francisco, just because it’s home to us.”