Hicksville, N.Y.—Brazilian hardwood flooring manufacturer IndusParquet, which had been supplying the United States market with its exotics portfolio for the past 20 years through a private-label arrangement with BR-111, will now service dealers directly through many of the industry’s top distributors. Jason Strong, the former vice president of sales for BR-111, will head up the business as vice president of sales and marketing.
“We are going to a brand to be reckoned with for a long time,” Strong said. “We’re going to bring stability to the exotics market, and we are going to come hard and fast. IndusParquet will be the most recognizable exotics supplier and not an exotics marketing company.”
While there will obviously be a period of transition, Strong assured that dealers will see minimal interruption in service as every product in the BR-111 display will be serviced by IndusParquet and its distributors. “They have inventory, we have inventory in South Florida, we have containers in the water and containers in Brazil. Every product they have right now we will be servicing.” New products will be unveiled by the fall along with a comprehensive IndusParquet branding and merchandising program.
Fred Reitz, vice president of operations, J.J. Haines, reminded FCNews that BR-111 product was always co-branded with the IndusParquet name, but people didn’t pay much attention to it.
While the BR-111 product portfolio will eventually be rebranded IndusParquet, the similarities end there, Strong said. And flooring retailers are the beneficiaries. “IndusParquet brings stability, reliability and service to the exotics market, not to mention financial strength. We will go to market with a customer-first attitude.”
Strong declined to elaborate on how this differs from the prior model, preferring instead to look ahead. “In the exotics community, one of the biggest issues is delivering product to the dealers when they need it. We have the financial wherewithal to invest into the market in terms of marketing and ensuring we have the product when our customers need it. There is $40 million worth of lumber sitting on the yard in Brazil at our disposal.”
Another difference dealers will quickly see is in IndusParquet’s focus. While BR-111 spent millions of dollars in consumer advertising, Strong said IndusParquet chooses to direct those dollars toward the dealer. “We believe that ultimately what consumers want is the value and expertise independent dealers bring. That includes installation, warranty, service, and a care and maintenance program. We believe the dealer and salesperson control the sale, and that’s where we are going to put our money: marketing support, merchandising, a point of purchase package, dealer incentives and education. We will put programs together so we can help the dealer add value to the process and help them make money.”
But at the end of the day, product will be what differentiates IndusParquet in the marketplace, specifically depth of product. “We have every type of product imaginable: glue down, nail down, staple, floating, engineered, solid, all at multiple price points, from high-end designer looks to great values. You will continue to see more fashion driven product from us.”
JJ. Haines’ Reitz agreed that product is IndusParquet’s forte. “They are a leading manufacturer of ¾-inch solid exotics,” he said. “They set the standard for unique, exotic products. As examples, Machiato Pecan and Tiete chestnut are phenomenal-looking products. They also have a finishing process that gives the depth and beauty you expect from an exotic hardwood.”
In certain instances, Strong said pricing will be more competitive than what dealers had seen in the past, but cautioned it would be on a product-by-product basis.
National distribution is already in place with 11 wholesalers on board, many of which distributed the BR-III line. Those include Apollo, JJ Haines, Wheeler, All-Tile, Belknap White, Ohio Valley Flooring, BPI, Reader’s Wholesale, Rio Grande Flooring and Golden State Flooring.
Distributors with whom FCNews spoke had mixed emotions. “It’s sad that that we developed a brand and that brand was taken away,” said Bob Weiss, president of All-Tile in Chicago. “But I’m happy the guts of the program remain from our loyal supplier. The guts of the program are the products.”
Weiss also welcomes the stability IndusParquet brings to the table. “This is a long-term manufacturer. It is mature and responsible. And during times of economic strife they don’t throw elaborate parties, rather, they invest in their company.”
Another distributor who requested anonymity summed it up: “The beauty of the products is in what the manufacturer delivers. And the way the beauty gets sold is on the retail floor by the dealers. That still remains. The only change is we have cowboys going out and good responsible business people coming in. We just have to go through the mess of getting the displays and samples rebranded, which should be completed within weeks.”
Rosanna Chaidez, vice president, supply chain, J.J. Haines and general manager of the company’s Wheeler division, acknowledged the aforementioned advantages, but also emphasized how the human element will work to the distributor’s advantage. “We have been building a relationship with the ownership of IndusParquet for the last two years,” she said. “They are honest people with great character; they are honorable people to do business with. Their word is their word. They are focused on servicing the customer.”
Chaidez admitted the IndusParquet brand may not have recognition in the U.S. market, nor is there knowledge of the family. “But this family is very well respected by all flooring manufacturers in Brazil. They are very serious business people. They build a business for the long term.”
IndusParquet, located in Tiete, Brazil, is the country’s largest manufacturer of hardwood flooring and has been in existence for 40 years. The company specializes in manufacturing all exotic hardwoods, decking and wall treatments. It employs more than 500 people with a flooring capacity of 20 million square feet.