Floor Covering Weekly October 13, 2014 : Page 1

Vol. 63 No. 19 A Hearst Business Publication October 13, 2014 $4 Surfaces East makes Miami debut F LOOR C OVERING W EEKLY The Industry’s Business News & Information Resource 8 Karndean CEO maps retail growth By Brittany Walsh [Export, Pa.] While Larry Browder, newly named CEO of Karndean USA, has already been instrumental in the company’s rapid growth within the retail flooring market-place, he expects to maintain an upward growth trajectory across all channels by keeping a customer-first mentality. Brought on board in 2011 as vice president of retail sales, Browder replaced Ed Perrin earlier this month who will now assume the position of Group CEO. Browder told FCW Karndean’s strategy at retail was to create a level of value and profitability that its partners could not find with other Larry Browder manufacturers. “We did this by creating partnerships with our retailers, by creating products that are second to none in design, innovation and quality. We did this through excellent customer service and product availability. We did this through a customer-centric group of employees who Mannington’s Duncan to lead residential By Brittany Walsh [Salem, N.J. ] Earlier this month, Mannington named Ed Duncan president of its residential business. It’s a role he is well prepared for after 27 years with the company and having held positions across both the commercial and res-idential businesses. “I’m incredibly lucky and very humbled to accept this new position. I feel that I’m Ed Duncan well prepared to take on this new challenge, and I have support from the entire residential organization to help in the transition,” he said. “We’re in full product development mode right now, preparing for Surfaces and spring launches. Moving forward, I’ll be working with the management team to work on strategy for 2015 and beyond.” A major guiding principle for the com-pany continues to be its Made in the U.S.A. story. According to Duncan, there are many reasons that Mannington continues to cham-pion a strong American-made strategy. “We continue to invest in domestic manufacturing: rapid product development; faster reaction to an increase in market demand; quality assurance; and job creation, in addition to stronger communities for our associates and a commitment to a strong economy through U.S. manufacturing. It’s just a fundamental part of Man-nington’s business model,” he explained. Keeping that principle top of mind, one of Duncan’s first initiatives is to oversee the transition of products into its new domestic plant. “We are in the midst of expanding our Madison, Ga. LVT facility and the transition of our residential products into that facility, so that’s a primary job for me,” he said. Being at the helm of a family-owned com-pany approaching its 100th year in business is quite a responsibility to shoulder, and Duncan says he is certainly up to the task. “I’m honored to be here during such an important time in Mannington’s history. The Campbell family and the management team always have the company’s legacy in mind,” Duncan said, quoting Keith Campbell, added, “We’re not working for the next quar-ter, we’re working for the next generation.” Duncan replaces Kim Holm who is retiring. FCW Continued on page 9 Vendors showcase innovation at NFA convention season. While issues like service and pricing were still topics of discussion here, members told [Maui, Hawaii] If the fall NFA meeting, held here at the Fairmont Kea Lani earlier FCW that they were looking for new thinking this month, is any indication of things and new product from key vendors at the to come, then there is a lot of innovative vendor/member meeting — a practice akin to product and strong selling stories to look speed dating where each vendor and member forward to during the winter show and Continued on page 23 By Amy Joyce Rush Channel Clifford, Piet Dossche, Sam Ruble introducing CoreTec Plus to Gary Cissell at Bob's Carpet Mart. Retailers find new profit opportunities on Main Street USA By Janet Herlihy The Main Street market for flooring has grown beyond entry-level products and now offers retailers more opportunities than ever. Historically, the Main Street arena was filled with low-styled product meant more for function than form. Now these prod-ucts can offer both. “It meant commodity products that were sold at retail to be used in home applications for basements, game rooms and home offices, as well as local small businesses, education or retail appli-cations,” explained Quentin Quathamer, Shaw’s commercial brand manager for Philadelphia Commercial. “It was called ‘commodity’ because there was not a lot of high fashion involved. The products were more practical and functional. But today’s end user doesn’t have that idea. ‘Main Street U.S.A.’ is often used now to mean ‘local,’ and in the flooring business, it means a commercial project that doesn’t involve designers or architects and where Periodical For breaking news updated each business day, visit us online at www.fcw1.com Continued on page 22

Karndean CEO maps retail growth

Brittany Walsh


While Larry Browder, newly named CEO of Karndean USA, has already been instrumental in the company’s rapid growth within the retail flooring marketplace, he expects to maintain an upward growth trajectory across all channels by keeping a customer-first mentality.

Brought on board in 2011 as vice president of retail sales, Browder replaced Ed Perrin earlier this month who will now assume the position of Group CEO.

Browder told FCW Karndean’s strategy at retail was to create a level of value and profitability that its partners could not find with other manufacturers.

“We did this by creating partnerships with our retailers, by creating products that are second to none in design, innovation and quality. We did this through excellent customer service and product availability. We did this through a customer-centric group of employees who are second to none. It is this strategy that has propelled us to where we are now. This will not change and we will look to do this across all channels,” he said.

And while Browder will carry these same underlying principles with him into his new role, he added that his job now as CEO is to ensure he picks up where new Global CEO Perrin left off. This entails not only maintaining a course for responsibly growing Karndean’s core business, but also ensuring the right systems are in place to support the growth of the company’s infrastructure, operations and logistics.

“We will grow our business through the creation and cultivation of business partnerships with the retail trade,” Browder noted. “Planning is in full gear for 2015 and beyond. We have a detailed plan by channel on how we will successfully grow our business. How we go to market and communicate with our customers is an ongoing focus.”

On September 17, Karndean celebrated the beginning of its building expansion project with a groundbreaking ceremony held here. According to the company, the project will more than double the building’s current size and enable Karndean to relocate its offsite production activities to the new facility. Browder said that this expansion and growth of the company comes down to all the people involved, from management down to every employee.

“I’m honored and excited that my move to this position coincides with the expansion of our Pittsburgh headquarters. I’m really looking forward to helping to facilitate this project, along with Karndean’s continued growth,” he added.

With an eye on the future, Browder explained Karndean is laser focused on continuing its success in growing market share. “Our name indicates a commitment to developing the best visuals both residentially and commercially,” he said. “Moving forward, we are strongly engaged in maintaining our high level of innovation, customer service and product availability to keep pace with our tremendous growth. In short, we at Karndean USA are working to maintain our premium brand in an ever-competitive marketplace.”

Read the full article at http://bt.e-ditionsbyfry.com/article/Karndean+CEO+maps+retail+growth/1832322/228426/article.html.

Vendors showcase innovation at NFA

Amy Joyce Rush


If the fall NFA meeting, held here at the Fairmont Kea Lani earlier this month, is any indication of things to come, then there is a lot of innovative product and strong selling stories to look forward to during the winter show and convention season.

While issues like service and pricing were still topics of discussion here, members told FCW that they were looking for new thinking and new product from key vendors at the vendor/member meeting — a practice akin to speed dating where each vendor and member meet for 18 minutes to discuss current business, future business and new product.

The meeting is a fast format for sure, but Deb DeGraaf of DeGraaf Interiors said more is accomplished in the 18 minutes than is done during any other show format.

Phil Koufidakis of Baker Bros. and outgoing NFA president, said new product here isn’t being driven by an improving economy but by suppliers looking to be different. Sam Roberts of Roberts Carpet pointed to USFloors’ Core- Tec Plus as a prime example of innovation.

Indeed, USFloors’ CoreTec was one major discussion taking place here. Piet Dossche, president and CEO of USFloors told Gary Cissell at Bob’s Carpet Mart that he “is passionate about CoreTec.” The innovative product, he said, has had a successful launch over the last 18 months, noting that while LVT is being commercialized, this product is different.

Armstrong began its conversations by letting dealers know that the company had on-shored all of its production with the exception of laminate. American made was its core theme here. “It’s a salute to America,” noted Armstrong’s Steve Staikos.

With all of the innovative product being shown here, Ed Keller with Hadinger told one vendor, “You need to teach us how to sell innovation.” PKs are all the more important as suppliers step outside of the traditional product template.

MSI’s Manny Llerena told members that there are three key areas to focus their business on when it comes to tile and stone: rectangular tile, wood planks and mosaics. He showed a new display for mosaics as well as new looks in rectangular planks.

Soft surface was also top of mind including Invista’s new Stainmaster product from Tuftex. Ian Newton at Flooring 101 told FCW that Tuftex’ new Stainmaster Pet Protect product did not disappoint.

Carpets are made of Superia nylon 6,6 fiber that is super pet friendly, according to Pami Bhullar, director retail development for Invista, and there are a number of unique attributes including reducing oder from “pet pee, poop and puke,” it repels dog hair and is fade resistant. “It’s the closest carpet has come to being stain proof,” he said.

Tackling technology
FCW also asked these dealers how technology has impacted their business. David Snedeker of Nebraska Furniture Mart and newly named president of the NFA, reported that the company is heavy into social media and the Internet as a whole. “We have to reach our customers because more and more, that is where they are or at least where they start. Next year, we will have to spend even more energy on both,” he said.

Added Roberts, “Our website and efforts that contribute to lead generation have grown to be important elements of our business. Elements of technology are ubiquitous and critical to almost every aspect of the business. The biggest changes for us regarding the use of technology almost all relate to various utilizations of the internet, primarily for marketing purposes.”

But an online presence includes the opportunity for reviews, including negative reviews, and that is something that is still difficult for dealers to manage properly.

“Online media is a bitter sweet relationship,” offered Newton. “It’s a great way to reach customers and promote our business and nowadays your website is the first point of contact with a customer. On the flip side, companies like Yelp! are the new gangster cyber bullies for retail stores who have no control over what’s said and it can be so damaging.”

Read the full article at http://bt.e-ditionsbyfry.com/article/Vendors+showcase+innovation+at+NFA/1832325/228426/article.html.

Mannington’s Duncan to lead residential

Brittany Walsh


Earlier this month, Mannington named Ed Duncan president of its residential business. It’s a role he is well prepared for after 27 years with the company and having held positions across both the commercial and residential businesses.

“I’m incredibly lucky and very humbled to accept this new position. I feel that I’m well prepared to take on this new challenge, and I have support from the entire residential organization to help in the transition,” he said. “We’re in full product development mode right now, preparing for Surfaces and spring launches. Moving forward, I’ll be working with the management team to work on strategy for 2015 and beyond.”

A major guiding principle for the company continues to be its Made in the U.S.A. story. According to Duncan, there are many reasons that Mannington continues to champion a strong American-made strategy.

“We continue to invest in domestic manufacturing: rapid product development; faster reaction to an increase in market demand; quality assurance; and job creation, in addition to stronger communities for our associates and a commitment to a strong economy through U.S. manufacturing. It’s just a fundamental part of Mannington’s business model,” he explained.

Keeping that principle top of mind, one of Duncan’s first initiatives is to oversee the transition of products into its new domestic plant. “We are in the midst of expanding our Madison, Ga. LVT facility and the transition of our residential products into that facility, so that’s a primary job for me,” he said.

Being at the helm of a family-owned company approaching its 100th year in business is quite a responsibility to shoulder, and Duncan says he is certainly up to the task.

“I’m honored to be here during such an important time in Mannington’s history. The Campbell family and the management team always have the company’s legacy in mind,” Duncan said, quoting Keith Campbell, added, “We’re not working for the next quarter, we’re working for the next generation.”

Duncan replaces Kim Holm who is retiring.

Read the full article at http://bt.e-ditionsbyfry.com/article/Mannington%E2%80%99s+Duncan+to+lead+residential/1832328/228426/article.html.

Retailers find new profit opportunities on Main Street USA

Janet Herlihy


The Main Street market for flooring has grown beyond entry-level products and now offers retailers more opportunities than ever.

Historically, the Main Street arena was filled with low-styled product meant more for function than form. Now these products can offer both. “It meant commodity products that were sold at retail to be used in home applications for basements, game rooms and home offices, as well as local small businesses, education or retail applications,” explained Quentin Quathamer, Shaw’s commercial brand manager for Philadelphia Commercial. “It was called ‘commodity’ because there was not a lot of high fashion involved. The products were more practical and functional. But today’s end user doesn’t have that idea. ‘Main Street U.S.A.’ is often used now to mean ‘local,’ and in the flooring business, it means a commercial project that doesn’t involve designers or architects and where the retailer typically controls the sale.”

Quathamer added that Main Street products are widely distributed to specialty flooring dealers and, unlike specified commercial, orders are not a lengthy process. “An end user comes in to replace flooring on a smaller scale and often chooses the dealer based on a relationship,” he reported.

Every retailer should be looking to grow a Main Street business. “Every single town has schools, churches, small businesses, etc.,” stressed Quathamer. “If they are not buying from you, why not?”

Working closely with suppliers is a help, according to David Sheehan, Mannington’s vice president, Commercial Hard Surfaces. “As they (dealers) become more sophisticated with Main Street, they will most likely need to partner up with their commercial distributor representatives to ensure adequate stock exists, develop project management skills, and become familiar with the competitive bid process.”

Working in the Main Street market is a good way to experience the commercial business without the exposure of getting into specified commercial projects, according to Jerry Butler, owner and president of Fred’s CarpetsPlus, Torrance, Calif. “It’s important to have good relationships with suppliers and the local community. We’ve been doing business in the San Francisco Bay area for 68 years. We have found that what gets you into small, local businesses is relationships. Once you do work and perform well, you will get more work.”

Fred’s dedicates a room at each of its two locations, approximately 16 X 30 feet, to its Main Street business. It is lined with architects’ folders from a wide variety of suppliers, both specified and Main Street. Butler said that while Mike Hornstra, general manager, handles most of Fred’s commercial business, anyone on staff can show a customer the Main Street library.

Olga Robertson, president and CEO of the 65 member-strong Floor Covering Associates Network (FCA), based in Shorewood, Ill., said she advises FCA members to diversify and Main Street is a good place to start.

Robertson said, “We advise FCA members to dedicate a person to look at the different opportunities in their local community. Sometimes being part of a local business network can be a way to make connections.”

Shaw wants to help retailers grow their Main Street business. “They (retailers) need to have qualified installers and Shaw offers installation training,” Quathamer said. “And dealers can talk to their Shaw territory manager to find out what we offer and all the various opportunities there are. We can provide a comprehensive overview and presentation. Whatever the need, Shaw has it through Philadelphia or a sister brand. We can support them to find that untapped business.”

Distributors also have a role to play, according Mannington’s Sheehan. “Best practices include scheduling training with distributor partners for sessions regarding Main Street products, having a Main Street Commercial display on hand for walk in business, and ordering hand samples/ boards from distributor partners to sell at Main Street locations,” Sheehan advised.

Mannington’s Choices that Work strategy is designed to serve the Main Street channel. “Customers can select a multitude of products/visuals from one display to meet all of their commercial needs,” Sheehan explained. “This includes carpet tile, VCT, LVT, commercial sheet, rubber, cove base and more.”

What’s selling in Main Street
Today, modular carpet is a growth category for Main Street use. Butler added, “As the prices came down, it has been more popular over the last five years.”

For FCA, luxury vinyl tile and luxury vinyl plank are also hot in Main Street commercial, according to Robertson. She added, that having an outside sales person to develop the business is a good approach and having a conference area in the retail showroom is good for a place to keep Main Street and builder folders, and talk to walk-in clients.

Read the full article at http://bt.e-ditionsbyfry.com/article/Retailers+find+new+profit+opportunities+on+Main+Street+USA/1832333/228426/article.html.

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