ZANESVILLE – It’s been a long way down for the once beloved “Carpet King” of Zanesville, OH: Howard “Buddy” Bunsen. Buddy had it all in the 90s: a booming business, flocks of loyal customers, and a daytime TV time slot where viewers across the tristate area could see him slashing prices atop his sheep-skin throne. However the years haven’t been too kind for Buddy or his store Carpet Kingdom. Today we find him along the freeway, trying to recapture some of his former glory by peddling single squares by the side of the road.
The 2001 hard-wood comeback had struck Buddy particularly hard. By 2004 he was spending the majority of his days in his empty store, huffing scotch guard fumes and licking the glue off the back of tiles. His partner at the time, Jerry “Jester” Paddington, got out right before the fall, saying he couldn’t watch Buddy destroy himself any longer.
“Ohh yeah it was real bad there at the end” says Jerry in a moment of reflection. “He’d be so zonked out on Carpet Fresh by the time I’d get in he’d just sit there running his hands through the carpet, getting lost in the shag.”
After a short stint in the pen for stealing carpet tiles from his doctor’s waiting room, Buddy is off the fresh-dust and is attempting a comeback of sorts. Most days we find him where he is now, along Highway 36, passing carpet squares through the window of stopped cars. His new tagline: “Blood or bile? Come swap your tile” has resonated well with his new customers in the Zanesville crime syndicate, who have since taken a shine to Buddy. He hopes to reopen his store, with the help of his new friends, specializing in “Rugs so big you can wrap yourself in”. Go get ‘em Buddy.