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Emily Morrow Home partners with B.R. Funsten & Co.

Dalton—Emily Morrow Homehas entered apartnership with B.R. Funsten & Co.Effective January 2019, retailers purchasing through B.R. Funsten have access to the full line of Emily Morrow Home luxury hardwoods, including the company’s 2019 introductions.

“We are proud to join B.R. Funsten’s impressive list of suppliers,” said Emily Morrow Finkell, founder. “Their focus in California, Arizona and Nevada expands our reach in key areas and exposes our products to customers who may not have experienced the beauty and craftsmanship of our luxury hardwoods.”

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Quality Craft appoints head of surface division

Vancouver, Canada—Quality Craft, an innovative building products company focused on surfaces and storage products, has tapped flooring industry veteran, Ken Durning, to oversee its U.S. surfaces division.

“We are extremely excited for Ken to join the Quality Craft team,” said Dennis Hale, president, Quality Craft. “Ken’s presence represents our continued commitment to the US flooring sector and the needs of current and future customers. His dynamic leadership and strong background will help position us at the forefront of the flooring market.”

Mr. Durning’s vast industry experience includes leading international sales and sales support teams with Tapis Coronet, Galaxy Carpet, Cooper Distributors and, most recently, a 20-plus-year career in senior management with Mohawk Industries. A deeply defined history within both the retail and commercial spaces provides Mr. Durning with a tremendous understanding of the market, customers’ needs and how to build a world class sales team.

“Quality Craft has gone through the process of structuring our sales teams to best suit the needs of our customers and to position itself in the optimal way to meet the ever-changing needs of the marketplace,” said Dave Bickel, senior vice president of sales and marketing. “By adding a highly successful and experienced sales leader like Ken to our team, we have positioned the company for explosive growth within our U.S. flooring division in the near future.”

With more than 30 years of experience, coupled with extensive industry knowledge, manufacturing partnerships and a robust shipping network, Quality Craft works to ensure that its customers receive the best products at the best price. Available worldwide, the flooring manufacturer also offers full lines of hardwood, cork, carpet tile, underlay and wall plank.

Quality Craft will exhibit at The International Surface Event at booth #6033.

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Redi Carpet expands into California through new acquisition

Stafford, Texas—Redi Carpet, one of the largest multi-family flooring providers in the nation, is expanding into California through the acquisition of G.B. Sales Floor and Window Coverings. G.B. Sales has served the Southern California multi-family industry since 1959 with a portfolio of products including flooring and window covering and now will function as G.B. Sales – a Redi Carpet company.

The acquisition enables Redi to offer its products and services to the San Diego and Riverside multi-family communities. “I’m elated to bring Redi Carpet’s three plus decades of multi-family flooring experience along with innovative products and trusted service to the southern California region,” Brian Caress, CEO, said. “The expansion aligns with our strategy of growth and will now allow Redi to service our customers from coast to coast.”

In addition, window coverings will now become a part of the Redi portfolio. “Adding a new product line increases our reach within the multi-family industry.” added David Rosenwasser, SVP - business development. “With the expansion of our product and service capabilities we are able to better serve our customers across the United States.”

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Exclusive interview: De Cock sets sights on innovation, customer satisfaction

New president of Mohawk Flooring says it’s all about retailers, consumers

 

At 45 years old, Paul De Cock is among the youngest presidents in Mohawk Flooring’s history. But make no mistake: He steps into this role with a wealth of experience, both through his 13-plus years with Mohawk and seven with his family’s Unilin prior to the purchase. One thing becomes strikingly obvious in any dialogue with De Cock: He is customer-centric to the core—both Mohawk’s customer as well as the end user—and anything that happens under his auspices will center around that. FCNews publisher Steven Feldman was granted the first interview with the man charged with taking Mohawk Flooring to the next level.

Who is Paul De Cock?
From a business perspective, I have spent my entire career in flooring. I came to Mohawk through the Unilin acquisition, which was my family’s business founded in 1960. I’m second generation. I have 20 years in the flooring business, but you could say I have 40 years because flooring was what we got at the kitchen table. So flooring has always been a part of my business life and my personal life. This should give all flooring retailers some comfort, that I understand what is important to them.

What drives you?
What drives me is to make the best-looking products, have the best possible service, make that product with the best possible quality and then make our customers as happy as possible. You want to be the best in service, the best in product, the best in quality and the best in customer satisfaction. That satisfaction is the end result and what ultimately drives me.

Do you have a competitive nature?
I am a competitive person, but I would not say the heart is competitive. I like to make people happy. You want the consumers to be happy in their homes and you want the retailers to be happy with their relationship with Mohawk so we can help them grow their businesses. You want everybody to be happy throughout the chain.

What strengths do you bring to the position of president of Mohawk Flooring, North America? Where can you make the greatest contribution to these retailers?
First, I come from a hard surface background. I think that is critical, because it’s the fastest growing component of the industry. I understand that, and that should bring comfort to retailers.

Second, I am a very customer-focused executive who always thinks about what we need to do to be successful. Everything is going to be aligned to make sure we can bring success to our retailers, because success to our retailers and customers is success for us.

The third thing is what I would call complexity management. The business I was running in Europe was complicated, because we were in 100 countries with 100 languages with all kinds of distribution set-ups and customer set-ups. Product demands were very different from one geography to the next. Mohawk is also a complicated business, but it’s a different level of complexity. It’s geographically less complicated but, from a product point of view, complicated given the breadth of what we bring to market.

You've been on the job for a couple of months, but you're really starting in earnest now. Tell me some of the first things you plan to focus on.
We’re going to put the organization in place, an organization that offers accountability and good chain of command so we can deliver the service, the quality and the best possible product so we can [absolve] the retailer of all the different things he has to take care of.

Second is LVT, the fastest growing category in the industry. We are very well-positioned to participate in that, given we have the largest U.S. manufacturing footprint in LVT. We have a lot of product activity and product launches going on in that part of the business.

Third, we want growth. It always comes back to the customer. Take care of your retailers and the growth is automatic.

What do you believe Mohawk does better than every other company?
I believe it’s our commitment to innovation. If you look at what we have done over the last few years with products like RevWood and SmartStrand, we’re going to do exactly the same thing in LVT. Not only product but also digital marketing tools like Omnify, for example, which is the best in the industry. I do think we push the boundaries on innovation, not only product innovation but also in the way we go to market, the way we bring the package to the customer.

A second important one is we are a manufacturing company. We want to manufacture the best possible products in North America and control the whole value chain. It’s by controlling that chain where you can bring that satisfaction to the customer. You have the teams that know the innovation part. You have the teams that build the plants in sync with that innovation. You have all the manufacturing assets domestically, completely plugged into your distribution system. That gives the best possible guarantee to the customers in terms of quality, service and product innovation.

Being a high value-added manufacturer is also something that makes us different. Sourcing is not our core business. It might complement the business, but ultimately we are manufacturers.

The last one is our distribution network. We can get into every ZIP code in America within 48 hours, bring every possible product to anybody. We have one of the most efficient ways to do that. This brings not only service to our customers but also the value of doing that in a cost-competitive way. Distribution is very expensive. Due to the scale we have, we can offer that capability to be anywhere. I think that is valued by our customers.

Why do you feel Mohawk is the best partner for retailers? How can Mohawk enhance that partnership under your leadership?
Floor covering retail is a very complicated job. The reason is consumers want the best possible product, but they also want it to be installed in the best possible way. Every home, every commercial project is different, which means it’s complicated. Every project has something special. Our retailers are the best at handling that complexity on site with the customer and helping that customer select the right product.

We need to be complementary to that role. Our role is to [lighten the retailer’s load] and flawlessly execute on that product, quality and service promise so they can focus on all the complicated things they need to take care of with the customer, which is selection and installation. The result is a happy retailer and a happy customer. That, ultimately, is why we are in business.

What are you most excited about heading into 2019?
I am most excited about all our product launches. We have new introductions in RevWood, which has been doing phenomenally well. We are relaunching two product lines in LVT: Pergo and SolidTech. SolidTech is going to be made in America. We’re bringing Pergo, the strongest product brand in the industry, back to the specialty retailer with a fantastic Pergo Extreme rigid LVT offering. It’s the best brand and best product. We’ve also brought some new introductions under TecWood. In every category we’re cutting edge with the best brands in the industry combined with innovation and service. On the soft surface side, in our SmartStrand franchise, we’ve brought in Silk Reserve. We put in four new ColorMax styles, which is the innovative new dying process to provide beautifully blended colorations and superior color clarity.

I’m also very excited about the landscape for retailers from a communication, go-to-market, branding and advertising point of view, which is changing dramatically with Google search and the online presence. I’m also absolutely proud of the fact we have an absolute leadership position in bringing digital to the retailers’ stores. We help our retailers bring the consumers in their stores, so they ask the right questions in the store. We partner with our retailers in the whole digitalization of their storefronts so they can capture more people to their stores. That’s also been something we’ve done phenomenally well.

Greatest opportunities for Mohawk in 2019?
It’s about bringing the connection and happiness to the consumer. Have the right products and the right brands in front of them with the right technical features that solve the problems they have in their homes. At the same level, it’s also about doing a better job of making sure we bring our retailers a completely seamless experience.

What do you see as the biggest challenges for 2019?
We have a relatively good economy right now. We might see a little bit of slowdown in 2019 from a very good 2018. All economic indicators are still in the green. Still, the floor covering industry is kind of slow. That is a little disconnected. We have a good economic environment, but we have a slower environment within the floor covering industry compared to what the economy is producing.

The question is why is there a disconnect? I think they were going to raise interest rates. The Fed is reevaluating that now because they see in the building-related part of the industry there is some slowdown. They obviously don’t want that. That’s an interesting part of the challenges we have ahead of us. Also, the whole tariff situation uncertainty has an impact on the business.

We’re seeing uncertainty on several levels—from the Federal Reserve on interest rates to the part of the consumer about the economy next year to the tariffs creating a climate where people are not confident about the future and where people want to spend money on their homes. The consumer may be taking a bit of a conservative approach on capital goods, like buying new cars or new floors or updating their homes.

I think the consumption is still going well. But I think we need to make sure we keep that positive vibe with the consumer and the confidence with the consumer so she can have confidence to spend the money on the renovation of her house and the capital goods that are associated with that.

What about labor? Do you see labor still remaining a big challenge for this industry?
Yes. Installation labor is a challenge. We are working on some innovative solutions to make installation quicker and easier so you need fewer hours per square foot to be installed. That’s definitely one of our focuses. As I said before, we’re a manufacturer. Finding the talent to run the plants is not easy. And, you know we have a big distribution network; it’s not easy to find the drivers for all the trucks. There is more or less full employment in North America. It’s not easy to find people in any of these sectors.

With the industry going more toward hard surface, obviously the replacement cycle becomes longer. Do you see that as a challenge for dealers?
I don’t. Yes, the replacement cycle becomes longer, but you have a whole different opportunity given the ticket for hard surface is larger than it is for carpet. So, the counterpart of the longer cycle is the ticket is bigger. It’s not about changing your carpet every five years anymore; it’s about changing your hard surface floor maybe every 10 or 20 years. But remember, that hard surface is costing two, three, four times as much as carpet. It’s difficult to say what the impact of this changing dynamic will be on the total floor covering industry.

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Anderson Tuftex unleashes new collections in 2019

Dalton—After completing a successful first year as a brand, Anderson Tuftex is excited to bring new products to its customers and consumers. For 2019, the brand will showcase five collections: Classics, Reverie, Artistry, Wonderment and Unleashed.

Each collection is curated to create different design aesthetics and offer consumers glimpses into how they might mix and match different hardwoods and carpets in their home to reflect their own personal style.

“We are big on making sure we have the right options, not necessarily all the options,” said Katie Ford, AT’s director of brand strategy.

The brand is most excited about the Unleashed collection. Unleashed features carpets made with Stainmaster PetProtect fibers with built-in stain protection and pet hair resistance to make clean up a cinch. They’re also color safe and fade resistant so the consumer’s home still feels like home at the end of the day.

These pet-friendly carpets have been curated with two new hardwood additions: Kensington and Buckingham. Crafted from white oak harvested in the Appalachian Mountains and manufactured in South Carolina, Kensington and Buckingham are premium sawn face white oak floors designed to timelessly add refinement to any home.

“We recognized that we were missing from the pet-loving world, and there’s a great opportunity to put our stamp on that industry,” said Carrie Edwards Isaac, vice president of marketing and consumer strategy at Shaw Industries. “It’s about not having to sacrifice great design, quality and beauty for something that is pet-oriented and high performing.”

Anderson Tuftex will be featured at Shaw 2019 winter markets and will participate at Surfaces in Las Vegas again along with the inaugural Domotex USA event in Atlanta.

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WFCA now accepting nominations for Gold Standard Awards

Dalton—Entries for the World Floor Covering Association’s (WFCA) 12th annual Gold Standard Awards are now being accepted, according to Scott Humphrey, CEO. Awards are available in two categories: Retailers with sales over $10 million and those with sales under $10 million annual volume.

The Gold Standard Award is presented each year to WFCA retailer members who exemplify the highest business standards and have created an outstanding retail experience for customers. For both categories, retailers are reviewed and judged based on knowledge, customer service, quality of store image and code of conduct. Applicants must be members in good standing of the WFCA to be eligible.

Three awards will be given in each category:

  • The first-place winner in the “over $10 million” category will be awarded the choice of a two-day CFI onsite custom class in carpet seaming ($5,000 value), or a customized two-day onsite sales training ($5,000 value), plus a one-year, unlimited-access WFCA University tuition for online training.
  • The first-place winner in the “under $10 million” category will have the choice of a one-day CFI onsite custom class in carpet seaming ($3,000 value), or a customized one-day onsite sales training ($3,000 value), plus a one-year, unlimited-access WFCA University tuition for online training.
  • Second-place winners for both categories will receive $1,000 additional WFCA trade scholarship funds, plus a one-year unlimited access WFCA University tuition for online training.
  • Third-place recipients for both categories will be awarded $500 additional WFCA trade scholarship funds, plus a one-year unlimited access WFCA University tuition for online training.

To enter applicants must complete the submission form and present multimedia marketing materials and other documents—all of which will be factored into the review process. The deadline for submissions is March 31, 2019.

Companies interested in entering or nominating an entrant for the 2019 Gold Standard Awards can visit: wfca.org/page/gold-standard-retailer-award for more details.

The winners will be announced April 30, 2019.

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NWFA completes 36th home with Gary Sinise Foundation

St. Louis—The National Wood Flooring Association (NWFA) has provided flooring for its 36th home in support of the Gary Sinise Foundation Restoring Independence Supporting Empowerment (R.I.S.E.) program. The R.I.S.E. program builds custom, specially adapted smart homes for severely wounded veterans and first responders. The home dedication for United States Army Specialist Tyler Jeffries took place on Jan. 10, in Stanfield, N.C. Flooring for the project was donated by NWFA member Mullican Flooring.

SPC Jeffries joined the Army because he felt he was born to make a difference. On Oct. 6, 2012, Tyler and his platoon were sent on a mission in southern Afghanistan. As he was walking with his platoon an improvised explosive device (IED) was detonated by the enemy hiding in the bushes. The blast resulted in the loss of both legs.

“What impresses me most about SPC Jeffries is his determination,” said Michael Martin, NWFA president and CEO. “He was initially knocked unconscious by the explosion, and although he regained consciousness before reaching Walter Reed Medical Center, he did not realize his legs were gone until he woke from his first surgery. Amazingly, despite the severity of his wounds, he took his first steps on his prosthetic legs just 44 days after his injury. He’s an inspiration for those of us facing difficulties, showing us that anything is possible with the right attitude. We’re honored to partner with Mullican to provide flooring for his new home.”

In addition to the 36 homes already completed, NWFA currently is working with its members to source wood flooring for 14 additional R.I.S.E. homes in various stages of planning and construction. Currently, 57 NWFA member companies have donated product, logistics and installation services in locations throughout the United States, with a total value of more than $4 million. A list of all NWFA R.I.S.E. participating companies can be found at nwfa.org/giving-back.aspx.

By the end of this year, 70 specially adapted smart homes will be completed or underway through the Gary Sinise Foundation R.I.S.E. program. To learn more about the program, and how you and/or your company can get involved, contact the NWFA at 800.422.4556, or email anita.howard@nwfa.org.

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AHF Products to debut at TISE

Lancaster, Pa.—AHF Products is set to make its debut as an independent company at the International Surfaces Event 2019 (TISE) in Las Vegas (booth #2009) with a sharpened focus and new vigor. The company boasts an impressive portfolio of leading wood flooring brands, including powerhouse Bruce, Armstrong Flooring, HomerWood and Capella. The new company was established following American Industrial Partners’ (AIP) acquisition of the Armstrong Flooring wood division back in December.

“We are entering 2019 with a clear focus on wood flooring,” said Chris King, vice president of sales for AHF Products. “Our strategy for growth is simple: invest in innovation and technology, deliver a dynamic product portfolio and be a great business partner for our customers. We are doubling down on outstanding customer service to strengthen business value for our partners, both nationally and regionally.”

One of the company’s immediate priorities is to leverage its competitive advantage. This includes listening to customers, leveraging its production network and utilizing distributors’ connectivity to the market. From there, AHF Products will quickly implement powerful programs to expand market penetration and drive sell-through, harnessing compelling design and breakthrough performance—all designed to help customers close the sale.

“Legitimate innovation delivers on two primary criteria: design and performance,” said Wendy Booker, vice president of marketing and product development. “Get ready for exciting advancements from AHF Products in 2019 and beyond, with a healthy appetite for speed to market, expanded geographic reach and stronger, more dynamic customer partnerships.”

TJ Rosengarth, an AIP partner, is looking forward to the future. “We are excited to partner with AHF Products and their knowledgeable, passionate employees, best-in-class customer base, outstanding products, and tremendous plant network. AIP has a significant experience in the wood products industry, including ACPI Cabinets, which was purchased from Armstrong World Industries in 2012, and previously Northwest Hardwoods. While AHF Products has a great legacy on which to build, we are investing for long-term growth so the company can perform to its full potential with best-in-class go-to-market strategies with uncompromising focus on the customer.”

AHF Products is headquartered in Lancaster, Pa., with manufacturing operations across the United States and over 1,700 dedicated team members in North America.

For more information, visit AHFProducts.com.

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QFloors introduces new QView software

South Jordan, Utah—QFloors recently released QView, a new business reporting and charting tool for owners.

QView is an interactive, browser-based dashboard that allows owners to see vital business reports, in real time, via easy-to-read-and-understand charts and graphs. The visual aspect of the graphs helps busy owners see, at a glance, a good overall snapshot of what’s happening in their operation.

“There are so many moving parts that impact the overall performance of a business,” explained Trent Ogden, CFO, QFloors. “In the past, an owner simply didn’t have time to run countless reports and scour through pages of information. Then compare the data with historical reports, and so forth. Now, with QView, you click a button and the graphs are instantly compiled, up to date and accurate.”

Charts are customizable and can be drilled down for greater detail. Some of the reports included in the graphs are aging accounts receivable, accounts payable, various ratio reports, bank accounts and sales reports.

“QView is incredibly helpful to owners, providing an accurate, big picture snapshot of your business,” Ogden said. “That means no more flying blind.”

For more information, visit qfloors.com.

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CTEF releases 2019 certification, training schedule

Pendleton, S.C.—The Ceramic Tile Education Foundation (CTEF) has published its certification and training schedule for 2019. The schedule includes certified tile installer (CTI) hands-on testing as well as three intense, hands-on tile installation training courses held at CTEF’s training facility, here.

The “Understanding & Installing Ceramic Tile” basic training course will be held Feb. 18-22, April 29-May 3, July 29-Aug. 2 and Nov. 4-8; the “Mortar Shower Base & Waterproofing” course will run Feb. 22-23, May 3-4, Aug. 2-3 and Nov. 8-9; and the “Ceramic Tile Inspection” will be held Aug. 20-22.

For 2019, the CTI testing program has been vastly expanded through the Regional Evaluator program with tests taking place around the United States in addition to those held in Pendleton, S.C. New test locations and dates are regularly added which means the best location for up-to-the-minute information is the CTEF website.

“We are very grateful to our tile industry partners and test location hosts for supporting the expansion of the CTI program,” said Scott Carothers, director of training and education for CTEF.  “Everyone in the tile industry agrees the pool of talented and certified installers needs to increase dramatically to handle the amount of new work on the horizon. Working with our team of partners and hosts, we are getting that accomplished.”