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William M. Bird launches Hearthwood program

Charleston, S.C.—William M. Bird brings the Hearthwood flooring line to its customers throughout the Southeast. In support of the launch, William M. Bird will provide merchandising, marketing materials and product knowledge training to its customers. The American-made, premium hardwood flooring brand is the seventh new product line the company has launched since March 2018.

The Hearthwood collection comprises beautiful, responsible and enduring engineered hardwoods all made at American OEM’s facility outside of Nashville from 100% American hardwoods. Hearthwood is rooted in a four-generation legacy started by Andy Anderson, the inventor of the American engineered wood floor in the 1940s, continued by Bob Anderson, the founder of Anderson Hardwood, and furthered by Don Finkell, who began Cumberland Products Group. Allie Finkell, executive vice president, American OEM, developed the Hearthwood brand as a way to honor her legacy in a fresh approach for future generations. Hearthwood is committed to making quality hardwood floors from American raw materials, as well as has a strong focus on environmental and social sustainability.

“We are very proud to partner with Hearthwood,” said Maybank Hagood, CEO of William M. Bird. “Their family legacy in the flooring industry and deep history truly resonated with us. We are excited to introduce this new brand in the Southeast. We know our customers will appreciate the high quality, craftsmanship and modern design of the Hearthwood collections.”

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Hearthwood Distribution Group partners with William M. Bird

Burns, Tenn.—American OEM has expanded the Hearthwood distribution group to Charleston, S.C.-based William M. Bird. This is the latest distributor to bring on the company’s brand, serving the Southeast market beginning in June.

William M. Bird has a long legacy of excellence and integrity since their founding in 1865. “We are proud to partner with a company that, like Hearthwood, has such deep roots in the industry,” said Randy Schrecengost, vice president of sales, American OEM. “The Bird company values of fair play, hard work, and caring for customers and employees makes them an ideal distributor of the Hearthwood products.”

The Hearthwood collection is comprised of 24 enduring engineered hardwoods, made at the American OEM facility outside of Nashville, from 100% American hardwoods. The company’s flagship brand continues the four-generation legacy started by Andy Anderson, the inventor of the American engineered wood floor, in the 1940s.

“Hearthwood is a way to honor our family’s 70-plus year history in the wood business,” said Allie Finkell, executive vice president, American OEM. “It leverages the vast experience of our past but is packaged in a modern way that appeals to a younger, predominately female demographic. It’s an honor to partner with William M. Bird.”

To inquire about Hearthwood products or distribution coverage, contact Allie Finkell at allie@hearthwoodfloors.com.

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NWFA conference delivers value for installers, vendors

April 16/23, 2018: Volume 33, Issue 22

By Reginald Tucker

 

Tampa, Fla.—Scores of hardwood flooring contractors, manufacturers and distributors converged at the Tampa Bay Convention Center here recently for the 33rd annual National Wood Flooring Association (NWFA) conference and expo. As advertised, the event offered something for everyone in attendance—new products galore, networking and educational opportunities, technical tips and even some entertainment.

“It was a great event,” Michael Martin, NWFA president and CEO, told FCNews. “In terms of numbers, we had about 3,000 people attend the expo—which has been pretty steady when you look at our shows over the past few years. We felt really good about it.”

Martin has good reason. The NWFA conference and expo was named one of the 50 fastest-growing trade shows for the past six consecutive years. Beyond the sprawling showcase of hardwood flooring products, installation tools and accessories, a big draw for attendees is the depth of technical, marketing and management sessions offered. In fact, the conference portion of the event boasted 20-plus hours of educational programming.

“We try to devise seminars that address the needs of all the channel segments we serve,” Martin explained, citing the mix of attendees who come to the show. What’s more, conference sessions are structured in such a fashion that encourages audience participation and interaction. “It’s not people talking ‘at you’ all the time. To that end, the sessions are arranged so participants are vocal and active during at least one-third of the sessions to keep them engaged. This allows everyone to learn from each other.”

Indeed, training and education remain a top priority for the association—and this extends beyond the instruction provided during NWFA’s renown installation schools held at its headquarters in Chesterfield, Mo., as well as regional training events across the country. During his opening keynote address to attendees, Martin provided an update on NWFAU—the group’s online training program. Since its inception in the summer of 2016, more than 30,000 courses have been completed by roughly 5,000 users—that translates into about 45 courses taken daily.

“We’re very encouraged by the participation we’re seeing in our online NWFA University,” Martin stated. “At the end of the day, the program benefits retailers, installers and consumers alike.”

Vendors see the value

Many of the exhibitors FCNews spoke to during the product showcase applaud the efforts NWFA management has made over the years to provide value for all members involved. Not only does the NWFA develop programs designed to raise the skill level of the dozens of professional hardwood flooring contractors in attendance, but the association goes above and beyond to deliver a captive audience for manufacturer members and vendor partners

“We’re here to support the industry and the association,” said Dan Natkin, vice president, hardwood and laminate, Mannington. “Many of the attendees here service the new home construction and residential replacement markets—both of which are important sectors for us.”

Pierre Thabet, president and CEO of Boa-Franc, maker of the Mirage brand of hardwood floors, agrees. “If you’re looking to reach the specialty hardwood flooring contractor, then this is the place to be,” he said. “This is where you meet the installers who really know all about hardwood flooring.”

Mannington and Mirage are not alone. Paul Rezuke, vice president, residential sales, USA, Wickham Flooring, also sees the value in exhibiting at the NWFA expo. “It’s been a really great show for us,” he told FCNews on the second day of the exhibition. “We feel it’s important to have a presence here as we expand our go-to-market strategy in the U.S. We’ve had some pretty good leads.”

Others see attending the expo as an opportunity to not only get in front of professional contractors, but also wood flooring distributors. “We’re here to show our new offerings in our branded Hearthwood line as well as products on the American OEM side that we can offer to distributors on a private-label basis,” said Allie Finkell, executive vice president.

Show stoppers

Among the key highlights of the 2018 NWFA show was the Plank Tank contest the association created to encourage members to submit their industry-related business ideas. Modeled after ABC Network’s “Shark Tank,” contestants in NWFA’s Plank Tank pitched their idea during the opening general session.

The competition was hosted by Jim Tselikis and Sabin Lomac, owners of Cousins Maine Lobster, who appeared on “Shark Tank” in a previous season. The businessmen, known for growing their small food truck start-up into a national franchise success, also shared their experiences with attendees during the keynote presentation. The celebrity judges, along with a team of wood flooring professionals, reviewed previously submitted business ideas to determine their merits.

The contest winner, which was announced on the last day of the show along with the NWFA Floor of the Year finalists (see page 8), was Insight Flooring Technologies. The company was recognized for QuoteHero, an app that allows contractors and estimators to measure the square footage of rooms, estimate jobs and close sales on the spot. Insight Flooring Technologies received a $15,000 customized package of NWFA marketing and education products and services.

NWFA’s Martin applauded the concept. “It was good to see NWFA members up there on stage talking about new tools and innovations that will help the industry.”

Look for more coverage of the 2018 NWFA expo in upcoming editions of FCNews.

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Ten people making a difference

May 8/15, 2017: Volume 31, Issue 24

Some adjectives used to describe the leaders who made the cut in this year’s list include “visionary, bold, enthusiastic and innovative.” Then there are those who just seem to have a natural proclivity for developing creative ideas that generate results. In another camp you have those talented leaders who inspire others day in and day out, challenging them to continue raising their game to a higher level.

FCNews’ 10 people making a difference features puts the spotlight on those individuals who consistently bring out the best in others.

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Mohawk Group awarded Best of Resilient Flooring for Hot & Heavy collection

Hot and Heavy Room SceneLas Vegas — Mohawk Group was awarded the Best of Resilient Flooring for its Hot & Heavy collection at the 2014 Hospitality and Design Expo and Conference.  Held annually in Las Vegas, HD is the premier trade show for the hospitality design industry. The IIDA/HD Annual Product Design Competition honors innovation, function, and aesthetic advancements in the hospitality industry.

“We are incredibly pleased to receive the top award in the IIDA/HD Product Design Competition’s resilient category,” said Allie Finkell, director of resilient marketing for Mohawk Group. “This year marks the first time we’ve shown Mohawk Group’s hard surface products together with Durkan at HD Expo, and to take home the resilient category’s top prize in our first year is quite an honor.”

Products are judged for design innovation, technical advancements, cost and value, environmental responsibility, aesthetics, need, and usage within hospitality applications. Performance, comfort, safety, suitability for intended use, durability, accessibility, and client/user benefits are also evaluated by the judges.

Hot & Heavy’s large-scale Secoya wood-look planks in 9-inch x 59-inch format mirror popular European hardwood design trends, and also cover a sizable area with minimum install time. Tiles in the larger size (36-inch squares)–named Bolder–emulate contemporary stained concrete finishes and broaden this robust product line. The planks come in nine colors, and the tiles are available in eight shades. The acoustical inner layer tests at 57 IIC, often eliminating the need for underlays which add cost and installation time. Both palettes are designed to coordinate with Durkan’s soft surface products to offer designers more flexibility in crafting a fashionable cohesive look.

 

For hospitality applications, Hot & Heavy is a time-saving, cost-effective and healthy flooring solution. Because of its heavier weight (5mm thickness) and nonskid backing, the loose lay product requires no adhesive. And the loose lay format works beautifully for hospitality settings: Installation of Hot & Heavy takes less time so spaces can be occupied immediately. If a tile becomes damaged, replacement is simple and can be done without disassembling the floor.

Hot & Heavy is constructed with performance upgrades to offer installation advantages:

  • The added weight and exceptional dimensional stability keep planks in place, even under commercial foot traffic.
  • Acoustical properties limit sound and provide quiet acoustics for multi-story properties such as hotels.
  • Subfloor preparation is reduced as Hot & Heavy tolerates up to 95% relative humidity.
  • Floors can be walked on immediately after installation.
  • M-Force™ Ceramic Enhanced Urethane is polish optional for cost-effective maintenance.

Hot & Heavy is made with 59% recycled content. Since no adhesives are required and tiles are FloorScore® certified, Hot & Heavy is ultra-low in VOCs, making it an ideal choice for creating healthier hospitality environments.

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Mohawk Group enhances leadership team

Allie Finkell Headshot
Allie Finkell
David Vita
David Vita

Calhoun, Ga. — Mohawk Group announced the newest members of its leadership team: David Vita, David Thoresen and Allie Finkell. These additions support Mohawk Group’s strategic direction to provide the best and broadest portfolio of products and supply an industry-leading level of support and expertise to customers.

 

David Vita joins Mohawk Group as the senior vice president of commercial sales for the Eastern United States. Vita brings over 25 years of service in the specified commercial flooring industry to this role. Prior to spending the last three years at Beaulieu as the executive vice president of commercial sales, he spent 22 years at Shaw Industries where he held a series of leadership roles with a focus on managing sales, profit and loss and leading margin improvement in both the Shaw Contract Group and Patcraft/Designweave divisions of the company.

“David is a seasoned industry leader who will offer new insights to the commercial business at Mohawk,” said Michel Vermette, senior vice president of Mohawk Group. “He joins a strong team already in place at Mohawk in this channel. With his compelling approach to leadership and deep industry knowledge, I look forward to David’s contributions as we expand our offerings to provide more solutions for our customers.”

In addition, the company has named two of the hard surface flooring industry’s top talent to lead the company’s resilient business unit. Dave Thoresen will serve as Mohawk’s senior vice president of commercial resilient business, and Allie Finkell will serve as director of marketing, resilient flooring. Mohawk’s new leadership additions reinforce the company’s commitment to serve customers’ needs in the fast growing LVT category.

“I am thrilled to have Dave and Allie join our commercial flooring team,” Vermette said. “With Dave’s strategic vision and Allie’s strong background in marketing and sales management, this new leadership team is executing an aggressive strategy to build products that lead in design performance and coordinate across product categories to help our customers create beautiful interior spaces.”

Thoresen will oversee all strategic initiatives within the product line. Thoresen brings more than 25 years of industry experience to the team. Prior to joining Mohawk, Thoresen led the commercial hard surface division at Shaw Industries, overseeing strategy, sales and marketing. Prior to Shaw Industries, Thoresen worked for LG Hausys, Mannington Mills and Armstrong World Industries.

Finkell will be responsible for marketing, product and training in the commercial resilient flooring business. Before joining Mohawk, she held leadership roles at Shaw Industries and Anderson Hardwood Floors.

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Mohawk Group launches two LVT collections

Screen Shot 2014-02-04 at 9.08.23 AMCalhoun, Ga. — Mohawk Group introduced PrimaVida and Select Step, expanding the company’s breadth of luxury vinyl tile (LVT) products to the marketplace.

The addition of these new products reinforces the company’s commitment to building an extensive product offering in this growing flooring category. Like all of Mohawk Group’s LVT product offerings, PrimaVida and the Select Step collection combines style, durability, performance and under foot comfort.

“Our approach to designing product isn’t looking at one product at a time, but rather every aspect of a space and its requirements,” said Allie Finkell, director of resilient marketing for Mohawk Group. “It’s extremely important to our team that we bring to market flooring solutions that are beautiful, high-performing and fit the needs of our customers.”

Prima Vida, appropriate for light commercial traffic, can be used in applications such as assisted living, dormitories, hotel rooms, residential units, light retail, meeting rooms and break rooms. In addition, PrimaVida’s wide planks install without adhesive, and its Uniclic locking system is milled into all four sides for maximum stability. Select Step was developed for heavy commercial use and is suitable for environments such as retail stores, restaurants, hospitality, non-aseptic healthcare, medical offices and corridors. Maintenance on both PrimaVida and Select Step is simple and can be done without the use of acrylic polishes, reducing occupied costs over VCT flooring. The Select Step collection includes tile and wood aesthetics that cover a variety of species and realistic embossed textures.

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Producers seek to gain ground in commercial

Budgets and building brands are the buzzwords

by Emily J. Cappiello

Although hardwood is one of the most sought-after flooring products in the residential market, there are still challenges in commercial. From designing to meet the needs of a completely different market to building brands, the wood category is still seeking to develop itself as a staple on the commercial side.  Continue reading Producers seek to gain ground in commercial