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Armstrong Flooring names 2017 Elite Retailers of the Year

Lancaster, Pa.—Armstrong Flooring has named three companies 2017 Elite Retailers of the Year. Dalton Wholesale Floors was awarded Gold; Airbase Carpet & Tile Mart received Silver; and Flooring America-Fairfax earned Bronze. Mercer Carpet One Floor & Home and Carpets Unlimited received honorable mentions. The award is based on a variety of factors, including sales, lead conversion rates, overall program support, showroom quality and website excellence.

“We are delighted to recognize and thank the best of the best for their continuing excellence as Armstrong Flooring Elite Retailers,” said Chris King, vice president of residential national accounts, residential distribution, Armstrong Flooring. "We are grateful to work alongside a great team of retailers who exemplify the values of Armstrong Flooring and help us to be seen as the world's best and most trusted flooring company.”

The 2017 Gold Elite Retailer of the Year, Dalton Wholesale Floors, has been a proud Elite Retailer since 2015. Barry McEntire and Todd Stephens started Dalton Wholesale Floors in 2004 with only a handful of employees. Through the hard work and dedication of employees, it has now grown to five retail locations with over 70 employees.

Silver winners AirBase Carpet and Tile Mart’s 12 superstore locations serve Delaware, Pennsylvania, Maryland, South Jersey and South Carolina. Carpet & Tile Mart is a third-generation, family-owned and operated business. They carry a wide variety of flooring options for the home, available to pick up in stores, shipped anywhere in the USA or installed next day by professional installers.

Bronze Elite Retailer of the Year, Flooring America-Fairfax, takes pride in its experience and staying power. Flooring America-Fairfax is locally owned and operated by the Menefee family. The flooring business began in 1979, and FA Design Build was launched in 2004 based on the vision of providing flooring clients with full-service remodeling from inspiration to installation. The showrooms feature a full range of flooring choices—from hardwood, luxury vinyl tile and plank, laminate and tile to carpet, area rugs and runners.

One of two distinguished Honorable Mentions is Carpets Unlimited, a family-owned and operated company established in 1969. Carpets Unlimited is dedicated to customer satisfaction and committed to bringing the highest quality products to its customers’ homes. Known as Owensboro’s premier flooring and furniture store, Carpets Unlimited was founded in 1969, and has grown in many ways over the last four decades.

Honorable Mention Mercer Floor & Home Carpet One is a local, full service floor covering store for excellent service and quality carpeting, hardwood, luxury vinyl tiles, ceramic tiles, custom area rugs and more. As a third-generation family business, Mercer has been servicing the Greater Baltimore region—especially Carroll and Howard Counties—since 1959.

 

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New multi-family housing rides rollercoaster in 2017

January 8/15, 2018: Volume 33, Issue 15

By K.J. Quinn

 

Builders and residential contractors experienced a rollercoaster ride serving the multi-family housing market in 2017, observers reported, as this volatile business saw demand fluctuate by quarter and macro issues impede growth.

“When the final data come in, we expect multi-family starts to be down almost 10% over the course of 2017,” said Robert Dietz, senior vice president and chief economist, National Association of Home Builders (NAHB). “We expect multi-family development to record additional, slight declines [in 2018].” Multi-family housing includes low-rent units and market-rate rental units in addition to condominiums.

Multi-family housing starts and permits (five or more units) declined 12% in October 2017 compared to the same month in 2016, according to the U.S. Census Bureau and U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Additional construction data from Dodge Data & Analytics—which includes some units the Census Bureau and HUD consider single family—provide further evidence the market is in decline. “The [numbers are still being crunched for 2017] but we’re on track for multi-family housing starts as they are measured by Dodge to decline 7% to 475,000 units,” Kim Kennedy, manager of forecasting, said at the end of 2017.

Like peeling an onion, additional layers must be uncovered to view construction data in its entirety. The latest Census Bureau and HUD housing data reveals multi-family housing starts consisting of five or more units jumped 37% from September to October to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 393,000 units. Authorization of building permits in housing with five units or more rose 13% to 416,000.

New multi-family construction saw fluctuations in market conditions influenced by such factors as Mother Nature, the economy and changing homebuyer demographics. For example, the supply of apartments and condominiums surged in recent years as builders responded to rising demand fueled in part by young Americans who preferred to rent rather than purchase a home in the aftermath of the recession, according to published reports. “Rental housing demand should remain solid, but it is no longer growing as it did in the year immediately after the Great Recession,” NAHB’s Dietz said. “Thus, the multi-family sector is currently seeking a balance between supply and demand.”

The market recovered approximately 96% of the previous, bubble-induced peak of 508,000 housing starts set in 2005, Dodge’s Kennedy observed. “Because multi-family recovered quickly beginning in 2010, it is also peaking earlier than single-family housing for this construction cycle. The 2016 level is very likely the peak for this cycle.”

Macro issues such as escalating building materials and labor costs are contributing to rising home prices while leaving less discretionary money for buyers to spend on flooring upgrades. Finding enough buildable lots to keep up with demand remains a major hurdle for the construction industry. And perhaps the biggest issue of all is a tightness in labor nationwide, which is reportedly contributing to keeping single- and multi-family housing markets from being overbuilt.

“Multi-family is solid, but there is some slowdown in new construction in certain markets,” noted Jay Smith, president, FEI Group, a nationwide network of interior finish contractors and showrooms that includes MultiFamily Solutions by FloorExpo.

One trend expected to continue is the movement toward smaller home designs, which traces its roots to around the time when the housing bubble burst. The average multi-family property is reportedly getting smaller, following years in which builders disproportionately constructed high-end homes. This situation may be short-lived, however, as multi-family developers build more for-sale housing units in the years ahead and older millennials settle down and start raising families.

“There is a trend toward smaller units but this only means more units and not less square footage as overall building sizes aren’t decreasing,” explained Randy Rubenstein, owner, Rubenstein’s Contract Carpet/North American Terrazzo, a Seattle-based flooring contractor. “But one trend we’re noticing is the increase in amenity floors trending with higher-end finishes.”

Demanding but lucrative
The overwhelming majority of residential flooring contractors are large, highly sophisticated and well-financed specialists. While multi-family housing can be a lucrative business given the amount of volume and growth prospects, it requires the necessary resources and financial wherewithal to keep up with daily service demands. “The overhead costs often exceed the margins,” noted Ron Dunn, co-founder and co-CEO of Alliance Flooring, the parent company of brands CarpetsPlus/Color Tile, Carpetland USA Color Tile, Floorco and Clean Touch Pro. “Most flooring dealers that are doing property management work typically specialize in it, and it is their main business model.”

Production building is a highly transactional business that requires builders’ dealers to pay close attention to managing their daily operations and overhead. If they cannot provide timely, cost-effective, turnkey service, builders have more options at their fingertips. “Dealers [serving] these markets will need to bring speed of service, high levels of productivity, modern systems, deep capital position, the appropriate facilities and readiness to satisfy very demanding customers,” FEI Group’s Smith said.

While the segment is highly specialized, there are similarities with the commercial flooring business. “It’s really no different than any other major commercial construction project, with all of the same challenges since the major high-rise multi-family projects are being built by the same large general contractors who are also doing non-residential work,” Rubenstein said.

Finding and maintaining installation crews who can quickly install flooring in large projects is a major challenge given the restricted labor market and higher wages paid to skilled workers. “Dealers need a lot of installation crews and operational assets to service multi-family builders,” said David Holt, Mohawk Industries’ senior vice president of sales. “If they screw up with those builders, they’re going to go out of business.”

Similar to a doctor, dealers are always on call as notifications for next-day installations can be received in less than 24 hours. “This requires manufacturers and flooring dealers to be in sync with product and inventory needs like never before,” said Brad Christensen, vice president, business strategy, builder, Shaw Floors. “Flooring dealers, in an attempt to become more efficient, have inventories as lean as possible and, as a result, they have been very savvy with the management of their SKUs and do their best to avoid duplication.”

Working with flooring suppliers who provide high-quality products and, when necessary, are there to help minimize the impact of installation callbacks is imperative. “That way, the builder can continue to look forward to knowing you are there to take care of any problems,” said Rob Brockman, channel marketing manager for contractor, builder, developer and property manager at Armstrong Flooring. “Building a strategic partnership focused on the builder’s needs is the challenge that is built over time on a foundation of trust.”

Flooring choices evolve
Whether it’s inside a dealer or builder showroom, multi-family homebuyers are given opportunities to upgrade to better quality flooring. The incentive for builders and dealers to encourage upgrade purchases is two-fold: It ensures customers receive a good-looking, high-performing product that meets their expectations and profit margins are considerably higher than base-grade products. “Consumer knowledge and education result in higher sales dollars for the same amount of work,” Alliance Flooring’s Dunn pointed out. “It’s a win-win-win for the builder, the homeowner and the flooring dealer.”

Most flooring upgrades are allocated for kitchens and baths, experts noted, because both areas offer the greatest return on investment and time spent in the home. “Large kitchens and open-concept design are still things that homebuyers seem to want,” Armstrong’s Brockman said. “This creates an opportunity to sell upgrade flooring as there is no real separation of spaces in these open plans.”

While flooring choices vary by region, carpet is the leading surface for multi-family spaces, though hard surfaces and higher-end goods are trending up, suppliers reported. “In multi-family homes, many people have pets,” Mohawk’s Holt noted. “So carpet is being replaced more frequently, usually within four to five years.”

New hard surfaces such as LVT and WPC are reportedly gaining coverage in multi-family environments. “Buyer preferences are leaning toward hard surfaces—mainly LVT—because of their great looks, durability and water resistance,” Brockman added.

Homebuyers still desire natural products such as ceramic tile and hardwood, which studies indicate add value to the home. Upgrades to these higher-priced products are becoming more prevalent given looser loan standards that help customers secure additional financing. “We’ve seen strong growth in town homes and patio homes in which higher quality floor coverings and better finishes are being selected,” Alliance Flooring’s Dunn said.

Looking ahead, the multi-family housing channel represents a lucrative opportunity for dealers who are well positioned to service the many needs of builders and homebuyers. “FloorExpo [believes] the multi-family and builder segments to be the most challenging in flooring,” FEI Group’s Smith said. “If done right, dealers can be very successful.”

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Elias Wilf receives John B. Campbell award

Calhoun, Ga.—Mannington recently presented Elias Wilf Corp. with its prestigious John B. Campbell Award. This award recognizes the Mannington distributor with the best overall performance in 2017.

Keith Campbell, Mannington’s chairman of the board, made the award presentation, noting the two companies have a decades-long relationship, and working together as partners in the marketplace is what has helped them both thrive over the years.

From left: Todd Lyons, vice president, Elias Wilf; Brian Doucette, vice president, commercial, Elias Wilf; Russell Grizzle, COO, Mannington; Jeff Striegel, president, Elias Wilf; Keith Campbell, chairman of the board, Mannington; Zack Zehner, senior vice president of distribution network, Mannington; Ed Duncan, president, residential business, Mannington; Rich Kearsley, senior vice president of sales, Elias Wilf; and Bryan Campbell, vice president of sales, commercial, Elias Wilf.

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Mohawk recognized for reducing its environmental impact

Calhoun, Ga.—For the eighth consecutive year, Mohawk Industries has earned recognition as one of Newsweek’s 500 greenest companies in the United States. The company ranked 265 in the 2017 Green Ranking program, which uses key indicators to measure environmental performance of large publicly traded companies that are delivering solid business results while minimizing their environmental impact. The rankings focus heavily on how efficiently businesses manage resources, which is a critical component of corporate sustainability.

“Our commitment to sustainability drives the way we design, innovate and manufacture flooring,” said Brian Carson, president, Mohawk Flooring North America. “We are excited to be recognized yet again as one of Newsweek’s top green companies in the U.S. Mohawk is passionate about corporate sustainability and about extending our leadership role in the flooring industry to reduce our environmental impact. These values are the foundation of our innovations that delight customers, create meaningful jobs and give back to the communities in which we live and operate. Put simply, it allows us to grow our business profitably.”

Mohawk is building a waste-responsible culture on a facility-by-facility basis around the globe, and the results have been significant: 5.5 million plastic bottles recycled annually; 25 million pounds of tires recycled into doormats annually; and 7.1 billion pounds of annual recycled waste.

George Bandy, Mohawk’s vice president of sustainability, noted that the manufacturer continues to make great strides toward expanding its commitment to sustainability. “Across the business, we have taken important and innovative steps to reduce waste, lower water consumption, improve our energy efficiency and recycle resources to produce better products in better ways.”

One model of energy efficiency is Mohawk’s Glasgow, Va.-based facility, which produces commercial carpet tile. Investments like lighting retrofits and replacement of aging boilers and ovens with new, more efficient ones have led to significant reductions in energy consumption in Glasgow.

Throughout North America, Mohawk has fine-tuned its domestic logistics from warehouses to transportation assets. Practices like route optimization and use of renewable fuel are driving sustainability, which is good for business and the environment.

Mohawk has a Zero Landfill (ZLF) program, which began as a pilot in the company’s rug and mat business and has now been implemented at 44 production sites worldwide. The program has led to a 26% reduction in waste intensity since 2010.

“At Mohawk, we talk about a circular economy,” Bandy said. “We believe in broadening our network of technical solutions and keeping materials out of landfills. We do this by manufacturing products with cleaner materials that produce less waste as well as by giving existing materials a longer, more productive life. Through programs and projects that reuse and recycle flooring, we’re shrinking our industry’s environmental footprint.”

The Green Rankings, sponsored by Newsweek in partnership with Corporate Knights, is one of the most recognized environmental performance assessments of the world’s largest publicly traded companies.

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NAFCD acknowledges 2017 education donors

Chicago—The North American Association of Floor Covering Distributors (NAFCD) recognizes the donors of the NAFCD 2017 Education Supporter Program: Mannington Mills, Salem, N.J.; Quick Step, Dallas; Sika Corp., Lyndhurst, N.J.; Primatech, Quebec, Canada; Shawmark Floors, Dalton, Ga.; and USG, Chicago.

The NAFCD Education Supporter Program provides funding to support the distribution channel’s evolving need for additional training and resources at competitive prices. With the support of these donors, NAFCD continued to develop and offer modern, cost-effective and dynamic solutions enhancing the productivity and profitability of not only the distributors that participated in 2017 educational offerings, but also their supplier partners and the industry as a whole.

“The commitment and support of these suppliers allows the association to provide resources focused on growing, training and educating professionals in the floor covering distribution channel,” said Kevin Gammonley, executive vice president of NAFCD.

The 2018 NAFCD Education Supporter Program is now open. Suppliers interested in this program can visit: nafcd.org/EducationSupporter.

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Retailers recall top intros of 2017

November 27-December 11, 2017: Volume 32, Issue 13

By Lindsay Baillie

 

FCNews asked retailers to name the top flooring introductions of 2017. It should come as no surprise that the responses covered a broad range of products across the spectrum—LVT/WPC, wood, laminate and carpet. Some of the products identified were updated designs and looks from intros of 2016, while others were completely new launches.

Following is an overview of the new products that stood out in 2017:

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NAFCD presents 2017 Lifetime Achievement Award winner

Screen Shot 2017-06-20 at 3.39.10 PMChicago—The North American Association of Floor Covering Distributors (NAFCD) recognized Bob Wagner of Fishman Flooring Solutions in Baltimore, Md., as the recipient of the 2017 NAFCD Lifetime Achievement Award, Nov. 15. The NAFCD Lifetime Achievement Award recognizes an individual who has shown exceptional leadership and made outstanding contributions that have led to expanding the vision of the floor covering distribution channel.

Wagner currently serves as president and CEO of Fishman Flooring Solutions. His experience in the flooring installation business dates back to the mid-1970s, when he was trained as a floor covering installer while in high school and worked in his family’s flooring installation supply business. He is a strong believer in giving back to the flooring installation community, which has provided him with continuous employment for four decades. He is actively involved in industry affairs and is a past president of NAFCD.

“Bob Wagner has given a significant amount of time and energy to not only NAFCD over the years but other industry organizations all in an effort to enhance the industry for all,” said Kevin Gammonley, NAFCD executive vice president. “He is an effective and passionate voice in the promotion of the value of the wholesale distributor in the channel. He has been a committed volunteer leader who always has the industry’s best interest at heart.”

In his current capacity, Wagner oversees more than 210 employees working in 35 locations who, since May 2012, own 100% of their company. His customer-centric leadership has helped the employee-owners of Fishman focus on improving how they serve and help their customers do their jobs better.

For more information, visit nafcd.org.

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Greenbuild 2017: Short but select group of flooring exhibitors come with an agenda

November 20/27, 2017: Volume 32, Issue 12

By Steven Feldman

 

Screen Shot 2017-11-27 at 1.41.43 PMBoston—Flooring companies were few and far between as 700 exhibitors convened here earlier this month at Greenbuild, billed as the world’s largest conference and expo dedicated to green building. But those who did make the trip to Beantown came with a purpose. From demonstrating a commitment to sustainability and transparency to the concept of biophilia, a select group of flooring manufacturers saw the value in getting in front of the 20,000-plus attendees.

Greenbuild’s basic value proposition is clear: Sustainable building practices as they relate to work and living environments are good for the bottom line. These are businesspeople who see the opportunity to help improve the planet while growing a successful enterprise.

Mohawk, which occupied more real estate on the show floor than any other flooring manufacturer, came to Greenbuild as a Platinum sponsor and to demonstrate its holistic approach to sustainability. In fact, this marked the first time every aspect of sustainability came together—both residential and commercial, according to George Bandy, vice president of sustainability. As such, Mohawk was putting the spotlight on Air.o on the residential side and Lichen on the commercial side.

According to Seth Arnold, vice president, residential marketing, Mohawk’s messaging perfectly aligned with the theme of Greenbuild 2017: All in. “That message is perfect because we look at providing economically viable solutions—solutions that appeal to consumers and solutions that appeal to our retail partners—and provide us with a supply advantage. Air.o is the perfect product to demonstrate that holistic, ‘all in’ approach to sustainability. It provides installation advantages, it provides consumer appeal, the economics are reasonable and ensures Mohawk a future supply chain of recyclable flooring.”

While Greenbuild is geared more toward a commercial audience, Arnold said everyone Mohawk talked to was fascinated by what it is doing with Air.o because it truly embodies the vision of a closed-loop approach to the category. “I think people have aspired to have a product like this for years.”

Mohawk, Bandy added, came to Greenbuild with another important purpose: to listen and learn. “We are here because this is where our customers are. In order to create the right products and solutions, you have to hear what they are looking for. We need to know what we need to do better, how to position our brand.”

Metroflor
Metroflor was making its Greenbuild debut with multiple goals, according to Rochelle Routman, LEED AP, O+M chief sustainability officer, and that ranged from transparency to biophilia. “First, we want to demonstrate our commitment to sustainability, especially with a focus on transparency and our leadership in the resilient flooring industry. We also want to show the sustainable attributes of vinyl and how the product can be made with a lower environmental impact.”

Transparency has been at the forefront of Routman’s efforts throughout her career, most recently in a similar position at Mohawk between 2012 and 2016. However, she said those transparency initiatives had not spread to resilient flooring as there have been multiple Declare labels issued for carpet but not resilient flooring.

According to Routman, there are a few reasons for that. “First, many manufacturers don’t want to divulge what’s in their products. Second, many resilient products are made in Asia and many companies who market resilient products in the U.S. do not have the longstanding relationships with their Asian suppliers, unlike Metroflor. We trust our suppliers completely. We know what they are telling us is truthful.” To illustrate, Metroflor owns the first Declare label for a rigid core product.

Screen Shot 2017-11-27 at 1.42.43 PMTransparency at Metroflor extends to its Asian factories. “That is an unheard of topic of conversation,” Routman added. “We open the doors of our factories to customers.”

Because Metroflor is so concerned about the ingredients in its products, it will not accept vinyl from external sources. “That is counterproductive and can create risk for the company,” Routman noted. “Other companies are doing that because it can lower the price of the product. Our goal is to have a pure, clean product, and you can’t do that unless you have a trusting relationship with the factory.”

Metroflor at Greenbuild was also talking about biophilia, which is basically this innate feeling for the love of nature. “We have evolved over time with nature being a central part of our lives,” Routman explained. To illustrate the point, Metroflor had some natural vegetation and actual hardwood in its booth. “The space on an emotional level creates a feeling of refuge—an enclosed, safe place.”

Shaw Industries
Shaw Industries took a different approach to Greenbuild 2017 than in years past. Rather than showcase the sustainability attributes of its products, the company decided to host multiple educational sessions on Cradle to Cradle certification, a cause that Shaw has championed for years. It even had the father of Cradle to Cradle, architect William McDonough, as one of its presenters.

“For years we have been a gold sponsor at Greenbuild,” said Paul Murray, vice president of sustainability, “and we would have a booth. You engage with a few people who would stop by. This year we thought it was time to up our education outreach. So when the U.S. Green Building Council offered us a learning lab, and we got to choose the topic, Cradle to Cradle was an obvious choice.”

The growing trend has gone from recycled content as the most frequently asked question to what’s in it, he said. “It’s all about material health, and Cradle to Cradle is a leader in third-party certification.”

With the USGBC now promoting this certification, Cradle to Cradle will move from niche to something that will be driven through the whole green building community. Thus, every session at the Shaw booth included some aspect of Cradle to Cradle, from how Shaw was using it in the marketplace to the city of San Francisco writing it into specifications.

Altro
Sheet vinyl manufacturer Altro came to Greenbuild to talk about its sustainability message and the products it offers surrounding that, according to Richard Finnegan, marketing manager.

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Carpet: Innovations deliver performance, style refinements

November 20/27, 2017: Volume 32, Issue 12

By Ken Ryan

 

From breakthroughs in new categories of carpet to innovations in soft luxury, carpet mills brought excitement to the flooring market in 2017. Following is an overview.

Screen Shot 2017-11-27 at 10.37.48 AMEngineered Floors: Apex SDP
Founded on its PureColor solution-dyed fiber process (SDP), Engineered Floors’ Apex SDP raises the bar for a superior fiber in commercial use with performance characteristics similar to nylon. “We’ve introduced this fiber system within our Pentz Commercial Solutions line with lifetime warranties for stain removal, static and colorfastness to light and atmospheric contaminants,” Mike Sanderson, vice president of marketing, explained. “Together with our Nexus Modular Backing system, we have a game changer in the modular carpet tile category—especially in the growing Main Street commercial arena.”

Screen Shot 2017-11-27 at 10.37.53 AMFoss Floors: DuraKnit technology
According to Brian Warren, executive vice president, carpet featuring DuraKnit technology is constructed differently than tufted carpet. DuraKnit products provide an exclusive fused core, essentially marrying and melting the fibers together and eliminating the need for a primary back. “Our carpets will never fray, unravel, zipper or wrinkle,” he said. “They can be installed in the toughest of settings and provide years of performance, and they are fade and stain resistant. We say it’s the soft alternative to hard surfaces.”

Shown at Surfaces 2017, the reception in the marketplace has been “incredible,” Warren said. “We have sold out of our first round of displays and plan on introducing new styles in this category at Surfaces 2018.”

Screen Shot 2017-11-27 at 10.37.58 AMLexmark: Living
“Out with the old, in with the new” is the best way to describe Lexmark in 2017, according to Darrell Locke, vice president of residential sales. Lexmark refreshed its Living display program with an entirely new look featuring more eye-catching graphics and larger card sizes. “We updated half of the line with the intent on building upon the Lexmark Living foundation that was built back in 2012 with the inception of the residential division,” he explained. “This new display system has been very well received in the market.”

Locke added the company has gained premium floor space in dealer showrooms, which is no small feat in light of the trend toward hard surfaces. “We have seen significant gains in the market based on our innovative patterns and merchandising and quality field representation.”

Screen Shot 2017-11-27 at 10.38.03 AMMarquis: Ultimate Beauty
Introduced at Surfaces 2017, Ultimate Beauty has been a home run for Marquis Industries. This 80-ounce, solution-dyed offering is a signature addition of Marquis’ soft yarns collection, all of which come with a minimum of 6.5 twists for added softness. Mike Lindberg, executive vice president, said that while hard surface has obviously taken a big piece out of the soft surface market, the people who are buying carpet want the best.  “We are finding they are willing to spend more for better quality. With an 80-ounce product like Ultimate Beauty, customers can sink their toes into the carpet when they walk on it.”

Screen Shot 2017-11-27 at 10.38.09 AMMohawk: Air.o
Mohawk is positioning Air.o not as a new carpet product but as the first delivery in Unified Soft Flooring. Indeed, Air.o has captured the attention of so many people in 2017, according to Seth Arnold, vice president of residential marketing. As well, many consumers have raved about the product, particularly its hypoallergenic properties. Arnold said Mohawk knew hypoallergenic was going to be a differentiating feature, adding, “I think we underestimated the scale of the importance of that feature for the consumers. We’ve done a lot of research to really understand the community out there, and what is amazing is more people have allergic sensitivity than are pet owners. Our industry does so much with pets, and yet the market with people of respiratory issues is at least as large.”

What Air.o has done is give people who were considering hard surface an opportunity to think seriously about soft. The company found that of the 68% of people with allergy sensitivities who are inclined to buy hard surface, the number drops to 48% when they were exposed to Air.o. “That’s a lot of people,” Arnold said. “Air.o is so transformative and different from carpet that the list of advantages is very long.”

The other big news has been Smartstrand Silk and Silk Reserve, which continue to maintain a leadership position in luxurious soft. “Silk and Silk Reserve both continue to be phenomenal producers for Mohawk,” he said. “Mohawk has clearly captured the leading position in soft, and Silk Reserve further protects that space for us.”

Screen Shot 2017-11-27 at 10.38.15 AMPhenix: Cleaner Home
Phenix executives have learned from research that consumers are looking for smarter products that can do more for them, passively keeping their homes cleaner, healthier and looking great. The company’s Cleaner Home collection addresses that trend. Cleaner Home carpets feature antimicrobial protection for the life of the carpet. The products were developed through an exclusive partnership with Microban, the leading producer of antimicrobial additives. Additionally, Cleaner Home was developed utilizing a new, highly engineered PET polyester yarn, Opulence HD, and includes SureFresh, an odor capture technology to provide a comprehensive, smarter soft surface flooring.

Screen Shot 2017-11-27 at 10.38.20 AMShaw: LifeGuard
Shaw Floors’ biggest success of 2017 in the soft surface category can be summed up in one word: “LifeGuard,” the company’s advanced waterproof backing system.

Shaw has expanded LifeGuard styling options to its popular Anso Color Wall in the Titanium collection featuring 150 new SKUs. “This is the first time we’ve offered the market our LifeGuard waterproof backing as a trade-up option on something the dealers and retail sales associates are already selling,” said Teresa Tran, residential soft surface category manager. “It has been so well received that new tweed and tonal color updates to our Anso Color Wall were introduced and, of course, Titanium is offered on these innovative new colorations as well.”

Shaw’s consumer research indicated that 65% of U.S. households, or about 79.7 million families, own a pet (animals play a larger role in the flooring decision process than kids in the home). Tran said all LifeGuard carpet styles are constructed with high performance in mind, extending the life and beauty of the product.

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Laticrete honored with 2017 Family Business Award

LATICRETE logo high res imageBethany, Conn.—Laticrete was honored at Hartford Business Journal’s 2017 Family Business Awards, which recognize outstanding achievements in family-owned businesses across the Northeastern region.

“This award pays tribute to my parents, Dr. Henry M. Rothberg and Lillian Rosenstock Rothberg, and the company they took from a basement invention to a global powerhouse,” said David Rothberg, chairman and CEO of Laticrete. “We’re proud to have three generations—including four of their grandchildren—carrying on their legacy and values around the world.”

The award was accepted on behalf of the family by Rebecca Rothberg, granddaughter to Henry Rothberg, who supports marketing strategies in sales promotions for the company.

To be named a winner, a panel of independent judges evaluated Laticrete based on overall company mission, community involvement, rate of innovation and business achievements over the past 12 months.

Significant achievements that received notoriety included: the launch of the industry’s first high-strength, chemical-resistant epoxy adhesive for installing stone and tile; and the opening of a new 70,000-square-foot in Grand Prairie, Texas—nearly doubling the existing 100,000-square-foot facility, making it the company’s largest manufacturing and distribution center outside of the Laticrete headquarters in Bethany. The acquisition of global licensees Laticrete Costa Rica, Laticrete Norway and Laticrete Italia are additional hallmarks of the company’s growth and allow Laticrete to function as a local company in every community served.

“The Laticrete family extends beyond the Rothberg name to our customers, employees and partners, and continues to be a vehicle whereby people around the world can achieve personal and professional success,” Rothberg added. “That’s really a testament to sound family values. You wouldn’t ask your son or daughter to work for a company you didn’t truly believe in.”