PHILADELPHIA—The Bayard Sales Corp. once again solidified its position of strength in the Mid Atlantic when it unveiled new products to its sales team here, on Oct. 18. New products and programs from Formica, Kährs and Shaw were rolled out to give the sales force a new arsenal when it comes up against today’s challenges.
Refreshingly, Don Wohlfarth Jr., Bayard’s president, didn’t cite the economy or a lull in building as one of the obstacles the group is facing. “One of our big challenges, frankly, is from the time we get our professional approach in front of our customers, the message is watered down and not introduced the way we want it introduced,” he explained. “You go to a specialty retailer today and she’s answering phones, loading vans, not hearing what we have to say.”
Understanding the time constraints on everyone—not just storeowners in retail floor covering—he announced a new focus on shop-at-home business. While professing a love for specialty retailers, he acknowledged there are those generating retail and watching overhead but new channels had to be sought out. “Sustainable business for a family distributor is to grow new channels and service the heck out of the old ones,” he said.
This point was echoed by the third generation Wohlfarth, Donnie, who is charged with finding new business channels for Bayard. Reductions in storefronts have evolved to businesses operating fleets of vans, further growing the shop at home trend. “Retailers are going to change, so we are just changing to meet their needs,” he told FCNews. “We’ll do that by selling more hand boards for trucks and it is what a lot of the new products are about; setting our company up for the next generation of what we think flooring will be about. Our dealers are competing and to give them ammo we need to change with them.”
Enter the day’s featured manufacturers. In order to provide the best products and services for the company’s clients, the executive team at Bayard answered the call for expanded hard surface offerings with exclusive products and pricing structures from some of the leading names in hardwood and laminate. “These products are commitments from major manufacturers to help us grow our business,” Wohlfarth Jr. said in the preview.
Mike Havas, eastern sales manager for Formica, piqued attention when he reminded the sales team just how pivotal Bayard was in the sale of laminate in the early ’90s. “As a manufacturer we need to partner with great distributors with quality service and education,” he told FCNews. “Bayard has always been a tremendous laminate distributor. We tailor around what they ask to help them gain market share and, of course, all that has to translate to the retailer.”
To help strengthen that relationship, Formica introduced new colors in some of its best- selling collections like Quintessa, as well as a new product with attached backing. Havas introduced Messina pad-attached with a 2.2mm pad affixed to the back of one of its most popular lines for a 10.2mm thick product. In addition to natural characteristics like textures on oaks and hickories and more options in gloss levels, it features the 5G locking system. “A 9-year-old could install it,” Havas said. “It’s the easiest in the world.”
Shaw contributed to the distributor’s laminate offering by updating several of its baseline goods in 7mil and 8mil with attached backing, up to its thicker products at 12mil, all with very aggressive pricing structures.
“We looked at your opportunities and our opportunities and they marry up; a want and a need to sell some good- looking laminate,” said Jim Nance, eastern vice president of sales for Shaw. “We’re trying to provide product to help you compete.”
Kährs also stepped up to the plate to refresh a 9-year partnership that has offered great success for commercial jobs within the Bayard team. Wohlfarth Jr. continues to have high hopes for the program. “I think this Kährs collection could be our next Pergo,” he said of the Swedish made, engineered wood offerings with Woodloc 5S technology.
Carsten Svantesson, president of the company, related Kährs philosophy to the popular book, “Who moved the cheese?”
“We don’t care who moved it; we want to know where it is,” he said. “We grab the opportunities out there by doing things differently, smarter and better.”
In a dynamic presentation that outlined the evolution of manufacturing, society and retail trends, he highlighted the importance of evolving with the times to meet the consumer where she is today. “Consumers are strong, women, well-educated, know what they want, buy it when they want it from whom they like,” Svantesson said. “Our industry doesn’t match the rest of retail in America and most people still don’t understand the impact flooring has on the look of the room. We can do something to change that. This is a design product and [what we produce is] our way of making sure that we are not regarded as a commodity product.”