Amy Rush-Imber 2016-04-22 01:02:41
[CARROLLTON, TEXAS] Back in October, Swiff -Train president and CEO Jonathan Train shared with FCW the company’s plans for growing both here and overseas which included developing other product brands as it did with EarthWerks’ LVT business, a plan that is now in full motion. Swiff-Train acquired the intellectual property and name of the popular hardwood brand Pinnacle in November 2015 and also brought onboard Brenda Cashion, now in charge of hardwood product development and marketing strategy at Swiff-Train. She had been with Pinnacle for 16 years. “Pinnacle had a well-established reputation and brand name in the marketplace,” explained Jonathan Train, president and CEO. “We hope to be able to build on that reputation and continue to bring innovative and fashion forward products to market through the Pinnacle brand and its’ distributors.” Cashion, he added, brings a tremendous amount of knowledge in the wood flooring industry with her. “She will be the main driver for us helping guide product develop, marketing and national strategy. Her passion and dedication fit perfectly with our company culture and we have been thrilled to have her on board,” said Train. The transition for the brand, said Cashion, was seamless. “We are fortunate in that we had a very strong relationship with factory that produced most of Pinnacle products so it was a clear transition from marketing perspective, customers don’t need to rebrand. And there was no shift in a production facility.” Hardwood strategy While Swiff-Train has an existing line of hardwood under the EarthWerks’ name, it is only sold through its distribution arm. The Pinnacle brand will give it a nationwide program. “The EarthWerks’ hardwood line has never been marketed outside of the Swiff-Train distribution footprint in Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana and Arkansas. Pinnacle provided a well-recognized brand name and relationships with distributors that were already in place. Our vision for Pinnacle moving forward is to have a distribution channel separate from the EarthWerks distributors,” said Train. “Having the Pinnacle brand allows us many new opportunities.” After securing its U.S. distribution, the company will look to overseas opportunities for the brand. Distribution for the brand will continue with three of the original Pinnacle distributors staying on board as well as Swiff-Train for Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana and Arkansas. It will be launched in this territory this spring. Now, Cashion and the Swiff-Train execs are looking at the assortment and eliminating any duplication with the EarthWerk’s line of hardwood. For example, Cashion said, the ? hickory product is all handscraped in the same six colors. “So there is a lot of overlap that needs to be cleaned up but also a lot of product developing that we are going to incorporate,” she explained. Added Shane Calloway, vice president of sales, “We are currently streamlining the product selections previously available through Pinnacle to a more focused product offering. In addition, we are adding new collections that will be introduced throughout the balance of this year and into early next year. We are expanding the current distribution base as well.” Pinnacle, said Cashion, will continue to keep a lot of flexibility that is already built into the program. Each collection will have between six and 10 SKUs and distribution can customize colors to fit the marketplace. “We will back-stock in our warehouse.” The two brands also offer the marketplace distinction. “Pinnacle is a line that is more focused on design and fashion and more midrange to higher end product and earthworks is more meat and potatoes, value-oriented products,” she said. While the Pinnacle name brings with it brand equity, there are certain advantages to being part of the Swiff-Train organization. “One of the greatest things about this union is that Swiff-Train, as a distributor, understands the challenges distributors faces every day with suppliers, production, inventory control. We have an empathy built in from being a distributor,” said Cashion. Indeed, Train sees this as a distinct advantage. “We understand distribution’s challenges in today’s market because we live it every day, and we know what we expect and appreciate from our suppliers. With this in mind, our approach to our distribution customers is unique. We have a separate sales force to service our distribution partners, supported by strong marketing and logistics teams. Our years of experience sourcing products around the world has put us in a strong position with suppliers not previously utilized by Pinnacle. These relationships, coupled with our overseas staff of quality assurance personnel, provides an entirely new sourcing opportunity for Pinnacle branded products,” he said.
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