March 13/20, 2017: Volume 31, Issue 20
By Ken Ryan
Florence, Ind.—Gilford-Johnson Flooring, a top 20 distributor with a marketing footprint that stretches from the Great Lakes to South Florida, welcomed hundreds of vendors and retailers to its spring meeting here earlier this month. The event covered a range of topics, from the integration of Gilford and Johnson to the spate of new products and programs available to its customers.
The merger of Gilford and Johnson, which created a $90 million wholesale distributor, was completed a year ago. However, the company is still working out the kinks. Scott Roy, president and CEO of Gilford-Johnson, knows about the challenges of integration from his days at Haines, which acquired CMH. At the same time, he allowed that much progress has been made.
“Knowing where we are today in terms of integration to where I thought we would be, we are far ahead,” Roy told FCNews. “Today we are operating the company as one. Jodie [Doyle, vice president of product management] said it best when he told staff: ‘You no longer work for Gilford; you don’t work for Johnson—those companies don’t exist anymore. It’s Gilford-Johnson now.’ We are getting big. Therefore, we need the business processes in place to manage our growth.”
Last month, Gilford-Johnson opened a 12,000-square-foot transportation hub in Nashville to help expedite deliveries between its two main facilities, Louisville and Atlanta. The distributor can now deliver product anywhere in its system within 72 hours.
Delivering great product with winning displays is a key to this effort. To that end, the meeting featured WPC and rigid core products from the likes of EarthWerks and Diamond Living, as well as new suppliers. One of them, Raskin Industries, earned praise for its Acrylx solid surface LVT, which it positions as the next-generation of rigid core. “That product is a game changer,” said Rob Purkins, senior vice president, products and marketing, Gilford-Johnson.
During his tenure at Haines, Roy helped build the Haines Loyalty Club to more than 600 members. Likewise, Gilford-Johnson is putting a greater emphasis on its program, which is now known as Advantage Partners. The program covers the entire Gilford-Johnson footprint and has 285 members. Reinbrecht Flooring of Haubstadt, Ind., joined Gilford-Johnson less than one year ago and signed up for the Advantage Partners program last month. “We were looking for a distributor that sold EarthWerks, which led us here,” said Kurt Paridaen, sales manager. “We pretty much buy every product display in Gilford-Johnson’s repertoire. This is a great group to be a part of.”
Paridaen was one of dozens of flooring retailers who spent the day visiting with suppliers at the trade show portion of the Gilford-Johnson meeting. Donovan Cullen, owner of Coal Field Flooring in Madisonville, Ky., has been attending this event for the past nine years. He was interested in, among other things, the Elements laminate line from Inhaus. “What they offer in terms of looks and durability from a price point standpoint is outstanding,” Cullen said. “Ease of installation is what you are looking for these days.”