Floor Covering Weekly April 8, 2013 : Page 1
Vol. 62 No. 7 A Hearst Business Publication April 8, 2013 $4 Scott Humphrey WFCA CEO 19 Interview with PINNACLE 4 5 PRACTICE & PROCESS PRODUCT 2013 10 10 PROMOTION & COMMUNICATION Entries Networking, new products, optimism drives Alliance By Mallory Cruise [O, F.] Alliance Flooring/Car-petsPlus built upon its “Pillars for Success” strategy as it welcomed members to this year’s convention here March 23-26. Under its convention theme “Drive 2”, Alliance brought to its members the skills, tools and products necessary for a successful recovery year. “Welcome to the recovery,” said John Logue, co-CEO of Alliance/CarpetsPlus, greeting members at general session on the rst day of convention. e group, he reported, is already up 10 percent this year, evidence of better nancial times ahead. According to Ron Dunn, co-CEO of Alli-ance Flooring/CarpetsPlus, the company scaled back the last three years in order to endure the tough nancial times plaguing the industry. But things are beginning to turn around, he added. “We’re getting more help from suppliers; we had a great meeting with our advisory board. I think it’s going to be a great growth year,” Ron Dunn said. “Retail is coming back. Commercial is strong. Housing and building is up which is spurring business.” He added that the group hopes to open 30-40 stores in upcoming months. Another goal is more networking among members. e Pillars for Success strategy pro-vided the convention foundation, focus-ing on people, perception, planning, and CARE Conference to tackle challenges by the end of May. In order to continue to spear-head carpet recycling e orts e ec-Carpet America Recovery E ort tively, CARE will need help. “We (CARE) will meet in Wesley Chapel, have bene ted greatly by getting Fla., for its 11th Annual Confer-our board members involved, but ence, April 24-26. e organization it’s a constant challenge to keep has much to be proud of. And while CARE moving forward with so recognizing its accomplishments, it many moving parts demanding also acknowledges there is much to Dr. Bob Peoples attention,” Peoples noted. do and challenges to address. CARE now numbers 80 certi ed recyclers Established in 2002, CARE represents the carpet industry and is dedicated to nding and another 20 processors of PCC, making up market-based solutions for keeping used carpet national network to facilitate carpet recycling. out of land lls. In September, Dr. Bob Peoples “We’re looking at big shi s and trends in carpet recycling,” Peoples said. “Some of the factors returned as executive director of CARE. CARE’s agenda is full. In mid-March, are in uenced by the macro economic climate CARE was preparing the 2012 Fourth Quar-and how it a ects small businesses everywhere.” Peoples pointed out that as the housing ter review for Cal Recycle, the CARE Annual Survey, the 2012 CARE Annual Report, plan-market rebounds, more new carpet is being ning for the Annual Meeting in April and sold which will eventually be available for working on the nal plan due to Cal Recycle Continued on page 19 By Janet Herlihy Continued on page 21 Mohawk finalizes Marazzi acquisition Gains leading global tile position 17 Low VOCs crucial for flooring market By Mallory Cruise and Ray Pina Hard surface ooring suppliers are adopt-ing FloorScore and Greenguard Children & Schools certi cations to verify that their products emit negligible levels of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and contribute to healthy indoor air quality — designations now required to achieve Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) credits and secure lucrative government contracts. “All of our products are FloorScore certi-ed and this has had a great impact on our speci cations,” said Carrie Berger, national speci cation manager for rubber oor sup-plier Burke Industries. “We are constantly asked if our products meet indoor air quality standards. Being able to say ‘yes’ and prove it helps us get and maintain speci cations. is P e r i o d i c a l For breaking news updated each business day, visit us online at www.fcw1.com Continued on page 19
Networking, new products, optimism drives Alliance
<br /> [ORLANDO, FLA.] Alliance Flooring/CarpetsPlus built upon its “Pillars for Success” strategy as it welcomed members to this year’s convention here March 23-26. Under its convention theme “Drive 2”, Alliance brought to its members the skills, tools and products necessary for a successful recovery year.<br /> <br /> “Welcome to the recovery,” said John Logue, co-CEO of Alliance/CarpetsPlus, greeting members at general session on the first day of convention. The group, he reported, is already up 10 percent this year, evidence of better financial times ahead.<br /> <br /> According to Ron Dunn, co-CEO of Alliance Flooring/CarpetsPlus, the company scaled back the last three years in order to endure the tough financial times plaguing the industry. But things are beginning to turn around, he added.<br /> <br /> “We’re getting more help from suppliers; we had a great meeting with our advisory board. I think it’s going to be a great growth year,” Ron Dunn said. “Retail is coming back. Commercial is strong. Housing and building is up which is spurring business.” He added that the group hopes to open 30-40 stores in upcoming months. Another goal is more networking among members.<br /> <br /> The Pillars for Success strategy provided the convention foundation, focusing on people, perception, planning, and promotions/products.<br /> <br /> “We want members to come away from convention with new learned skills, new products, private label programs and advice on how to organize showrooms and displays that fit their own unique personalities,” explained Ron Dunn.<br /> <br /> Dan Bodamer of Bodamer Brothers, Traverse City, Mich., said that Alliance makes it easier for its members to compete. “It’s a tough market out there but they make it fun. I took advantage of the promotions, tools and buying power offered by Alliance and it helped me survive,” he said.<br /> <br /> Alliance’s Rush Hour event, a buying and selling frenzy during the second night of convention was especially popular this year. “Our Rush Hour event has gotten better, more suppliers are involved,” said Ron Dunn.<br /> <br /> The group, said John Logue, is also getting more involved in social media platforms such as Facebook, Pinterest and other various design blogs. “We’re spending a lot of energy in the social media area,” he said.<br /> <br /> Ron Dunn said the ultimate goal is for members to leave with five to six skills they can bring back to their stores. “We want to help our members cut costs and grow their network in a meaningful way,” said Ron Dunn, adding that the group was making an effort to grow overall sales and strengthen supplier and distributor relationships.<br /> <br /> Alliance will also bring Summit meetings, a sharing of best practices, back to its members. Ryan Dunn vice president of sales, explained, “During summits we break down show rooms to see what someone else does right. In this capacity, members learn from experience. Ideally, we want to do one summit and one convention which would allow us to see members twice a year.”<br /> <br /> When it comes to product, vice president of marketing Kevin Logue said goals include new flagship displays featuring larger samples; programs incorporating soft fiber technology and carpet styling all offered in private label programs; and, an effort to bring more value through product and display pricing. He said the group is also growing its supplier roster.<br /> <br /> “Soft sells,” stated Kevin Logue. “It has become the standard in floorcovering and this is what Mrs. Consumer wants. It will differentiate you from the big boxes.”<br /> <br /> Indeed, soft was a product focus here at convention. “We want to source product properly and offer the best products to our members. We want to offer enhanced displays to help them display new soft products in a unique manor, to become a store within a store,” Ron Dunn added.<br /> <br /> Alliance is also bringing new programs and products to its hard surface offering that include key collections from companies like Shaw, Anderson and Armstrong.<br /> <br /> Added to the hard surface program was a decorative accents program by Bedrosians. New supplier, CFS, was on hand displaying its Fab 5 for ColorTile collection which includes strand woven bamboo products and is private labeled for ColorTile.<br /> <br /> “CFS had some really nice hard surface products. Alliance’s soft offerings are also great The Home Values offerings provides a one-two punch— it has good product and it has quality product,” said Ron Goins, floorcovering manager at Woods Lumber Co., Independence, Kan. “They are really helping us plan for our business at convention and are giving us the tools we need to succeed.”
CARE Conference to tackle challenges
<br /> Carpet America Recovery Effort (CARE) will meet in Wesley Chapel, Fla., for its 11th Annual Conference, April 24-26. The organization has much to be proud of. And while recognizing its accomplishments, it also acknowledges there is much to do and challenges to address.<br /> <br /> Established in 2002, CARE represents the carpet industry and is dedicated to finding market-based solutions for keeping used carpet out of landfills. In September, Dr. Bob Peoples returned as executive director of CARE.<br /> <br /> CARE’s agenda is full. In mid-March, CARE was preparing the 2012 Fourth Quarter review for Cal Recycle, the CARE Annual Survey, the 2012 CARE Annual Report, planning for the Annual Meeting in April and working on the final plan due to Cal Recycle by the end of May.<br /> <br /> In order to continue to spearhead carpet recycling efforts effectively, CARE will need help. “We have benefited greatly by getting our board members involved, but it’s a constant challenge to keep CARE moving forward with so many moving parts demanding attention,” Peoples noted.<br /> <br /> CARE now numbers 80 certified recyclers and another 20 processors of PCC, making up national network to facilitate carpet recycling. “We’re looking at big shifts and trends in carpet recycling,” Peoples said. “Some of the factors are influenced by the macro economic climate and how it affects small businesses everywhere.”<br /> <br /> Peoples pointed out that as the housing market rebounds, more new carpet is being sold which will eventually be available for recycling. But when plastic markets are down, prices soften, making it harder for recyclers to make money. “CARE is working with entrepreneurs to find and develop new market outlets for PCC derived materials,” he added.<br /> <br /> The challenge of finding viable markets for used polyester (PET) carpet is still unanswered, Peoples said. “We do have good leads and new technologies are being developed that have a lot of potential, but the shift to PET face fiber continues, which has escalated the urgency to find solutions,” he noted.<br /> <br /> Considering the investment necessary to process PCC, it is critical to establish a steady stream of PCC to keep the machines running. Recyclers have arrangements with big box retailers, but there is a need to reach out to small stores to collect their PCC as well, Peoples noted. A lot of residential used carpet is now sent to a landfill or leftcurbside. “The low hanging fruit of used carpet sources are all being taken. We need more creative ways to acquire materials,” Peoples added.<br /> <br /> And, Peoples said, CARE’s single biggest wish is that people see the wonderful leadership that has emerged from the carpet industry and join the effort. “The mills have invested more than $100 million and the recyclers have put in 10s of millions of dollars to set up the recycling process. If the entire carpet chain can pull together, we will continue to divert more and more PCC from landfills and channel the materials into economically viable after markets.”<br /> <br /> Though CARE faces the challenges of market shifts and the economy, Peoples said that carpet recycling has indeed come a long way in a short time. “When CARE started, the notion of recycling carpet into other products was relatively new and only being pursued by a few manufacturers. Now, according to CARE’s 2011 annual report, almost 30 percent of recycled carpet is going back into face fiber and carpet backings,” Peoples reported.<br /> <br /> Another major accomplishment is CARE’s work as the stewardship organization for California’s AB2398 carpet recycling law. CARE worked in formulating the 2011 law, which seeks to divert carpet from landfills by encouraging the creation of new products from PCC with payments to processors for innovations generated by a charge of 5 cents per square yard of carpet that is shipped into and/or sold in California. CARE is responsible for managing the program.<br /> <br /> There are other states looking at the California program as a model. Peoples explained that Minnesota is considering similar legislation that could go into effect as early as January 2014. The carpet industry will be engaged with Minnesota going forward and, presumably, if proposal becomes law, CARE would have the same role (as a steward for the program) as it does in California.<br /> <br /> “It is important to keep in mind that California is an unfinished experiment and we are learning more every quarter,” Peoples noted. “For instance, there are variations in collections (volumes) from quarter to quarter tied to the selling season. And we are conducting a rural pilot program to see how best to collect used carpet outside cities,” Peoples said.
Low VOCs crucial for flooring market
Mallory Cruise & Ray Pina
<br /> Hard surface flooring suppliers are adopting FloorScore and Greenguard Children & Schools certifications to verify that their products emit negligible levels of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and contribute to healthy indoor air quality — designations now required to achieve Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) credits and secure lucrative government contracts.<br /> <br /> “All of our products are FloorScore certified and this has had a great impact on our specifications,” said Carrie Berger, national specification manager for rubber floor supplier Burke Industries. “We are constantly asked if our products meet indoor air quality standards. Being able to say ‘yes’ and prove it helps us get and maintain specifications. This alone would get us specified.”<br /> <br /> FloorScore and Greenguard Children & Schools certified products have been successfully tested by third-party laboratories for compliance with California Section 01350, the nation’s strictest guidelines on emission testing and protocols for achieving healthy indoor air quality. Certified products are also verified for being composed of safe materials, retested annually and are proven to originate from sustainable and environmentally friendly facilities.<br /> <br /> While FloorScore only certifies flooring, Greenguard Children & Schools certifies a wide variety of building-related products, including floors, furniture, doors, ceilings and counter-tops. Both certifications contribute LEED points to projects under the U.S. Green Building Council’s (USGBC) Indoor Environmental Quality (IEQ) category while fulfilling government requirements for healthy indoor environments for federal buildings.<br /> <br /> “IVC US felt it was important to pay special attention to how our products can contribute to improving indoor air quality. FloorScore enables us to make that contribution through credible testing and certifications,” said Angelina Cebrián, marketing communications manager, IVC US.<br /> <br /> Shaw had its entire hardwood and laminate floor portfolio Greenguard Children and Schools certified in 2009 to complement the Carpet and Rug Institute’s (CRI) soft surface Green Label Plus program, which was launched in 1992 to assure low VOC carpet emissions.<br /> <br /> “We wanted a third-party-verified, low- VOC certification that was compatible with the Green Label Plus certification we have on all of our residential and commercial carpet styles,” said David Wilkerson, corporate director of sustainability at Shaw. “The Children & Schools certification does exactly this and is also recognized by USGBC as a pathway to credit under their various LEED programs.”<br /> <br /> Healthy indoor air quality certification is not cheap but worth the expense, according to Dave Reichwein, president and CEO, FreeFit. “We pay something like $35,000 a year for our certification; every year,” he said. “So much of the business being done right now depends on our Greenguard Children & Schools certification.”<br /> <br /> FloorScore was developed in 2000 by the Resilient Floor Covering Institute (RFCI) and launched in 2005 in collaboration with SCS Global. Visit www.rfci.com for more information. The Greenguard Environmental Institute was founded in 2001 as the certifying body of Air Quality Sciences (AQS). In 2011 AQS and Greenguard were acquired by Underwriters Laboratories. Visit www. greenguard.org for more information.