January 7/14, 2019: Volume 34, Issue 16
By Reginald Tucker
When the Mercier Wood Flooring marketing team brainstormed to come up with a name for its latest collection featuring state-of-the-art finishing technology, the goal was to not only define the line’s underlying capabilities but also turn heads and make retailers take a second look. So, after kicking around potential monikers like “Raw” and others, the company decided the “Naked Series” most accurately and effectively conveyed the gist of the new offering.
“With this new finishing technology, we are able to apply a coating to the wood and seal the wood and then apply our Generations coating on top of it without changing the look,” Wade Bondrowski, Mercier’s director of sales, U.S., explained. “With most other wood flooring finishes, once you put a urethane finish on it really does change the look of the graining of the natural wood species. What we have been able to do with the Naked Series is seal that visual with a finish without changing the natural sawn look of the wood.”
While the concept behind the Naked Series seems simple, the application process is quite complex. “It’s a very delicate process,” Bondrowski said. “If you don’t seal it correctly, then any part of the finish where you apply it is going to pop that graining, which would make it look undesirable.”
The good news for retailers—beyond having a product that can’t easily be replicated—is it offers them an opportunity to trade up customers from the bevy of entry-level engineered wood products available on the market. “This product is going to cost a little more than some of the other products in our lineup, but not as much as others might think,” Bondrowski explained. “It’s definitely going to be positioned as an upgrade, but it’s not going to be off-the-charts expensive.”
Some of Mercier’s customers had the opportunity to view the technology firsthand during an annual distributor/retailer meeting at the company’s headquarters back in November. One such individual was Tom Norris, Pittsburgh regional manager for ProSource, a Mercier partner for the past 20 years. “This is an extremely clean looking product,” he said. “With this process Mercier is using, it looks like a fresh-cut sawn plank. It’s better looking than any engineered product I’ve seen out there.”
The Naked Series, which launched in Canada back in November, will be available to retailers and distributors in the U.S. beginning this month.