Courting success: Floored briefly by the global pandemic, Praters eyes a record year

When the global pandemic threatened his business in 2020, John Prater looked to the 1990s.

These days, Praters Inc. is known worldwide for designing, painting and finishing portable basketball floors for colleges and universities, professional teams and leagues and special events, including the Olympic Games. Prater says his Rossville, Ga.-based facility is the largest of its type in the world, at which his employees can store 50 portable floors and work on up to nine at a time.

But Prater recalls that his very first job was painting and finishing the playing floor in Baylor School's Jimmy Duke Arena.

"I probably got $3,000 or $4,000," he says.

So when the pandemic shut down 2020 college basketball tournaments and forced cancellation of multiple events in the following months, Prater went back to his beginning.

"I