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National Floorcovering Alliance: Group purchases take center stage

By Steven Feldman

Volume 26/Number 19; February 4/11, 2013

Las Vegas—National Floorcovering Alliance (NFA) members gathered here Jan. 28 for their annual pre-Surfaces meeting followed by the group’s vendor showcase for Tier 2 suppliers. The meeting serves to update members on 2013 initiatives, many of which are discussed in depth at the group’s spring conference.

It was announced in October NFA was seeking to complete a group buy on hard surface, much like its famed carpet roll buy. In the months since its fall conference, the hardwood committee has been working diligently with Armstrong to put together such a program. The result was a proposed group buy on American Scrape Hardwood, which would be co-branded under NFA’s proprietary Lifetime Luxury collection as well as American Scrape. The line boasts a Made in the U.S.A. story as well as lifetime structure and finish warranties.

“This special buy is intended to be a margin-enhancing opportunity and not as a tool to disrupt local markets,” said Ian Newton, general manager of Flooring 101, Ventura County, Calif., and NFA hardwood committee chairman, meaning it is not intended for NFA members to undercut existing pricing in their areas. “If supported by the group, Armstrong would be willing to look at developing future programs for other products.”

Sam Roberts, owner of Roberts Carpet and Fine Floors, Houston, who also worked on the deal, noted, “I think this is an exceptional value, and if we can all take advantage of this it will make a statement to Armstrong and the industry regarding the value of this group.”

NFA also announced a bit of a change to its 2013 carpet roll buy. In the past, the roll buy was limited to Stainmaster-branded products. But changes in industry dynamics led the group to split the roll buy for 2013 into groups of Stainmas-ter nylon, non-Stainmaster nylon and other fiber platforms. “We had a difficult time trying to pinpoint a complete offering in time for Surfaces,” said Jeff Macco, Macco’s Floor Covering Center, Green Bay, Wis., and carpet committee chairman. In the end, Dixie and Phenix were the mills that offered the best deals. “We swing a big stick when we make these buys.”

In other NFA news…

•NFA is in the process of relaunching its website. The idea is to keep things simple for now. The site will contain information on the group as well as each individual member, the states and cities each member services and will provide a link to their respective website along with contact information. Members will be listed in alphabetical order by state. The site will also contain a member log-in section, where they can access agreements, pricing, etc. “The site was designed to have visibility,” said Phil Koufidakis of Baker Bros. in Arizona. “If we want it to be more, it’s a conversation for another day.”

•ICC Floors in Indianapolis, a prospective new member sat in on the meeting. Owners Cameron Haughey and Nate Roberts, said their business is divided between builder, commercial and retail.

•NFA as a group was up double digits with both Armstrong and Mohawk in 2012. “ It’s great to support the people who support us,” Koufidakis said.