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Belknap White hosts FlooringPlus convention

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

Mansfield, Mass.—The Belknap White Group (BWG), a full-line distributor and member of the Bravo Group, hosted its 17th Annual FlooringPlus Convention at The Sagamore in Upstate New York recently. Scores of retailers, vendors, exhibitors and sponsors turned out for the event.

This year’s convention focused on BWG’s tradition of empowering its FlooringPlus members. This two-day event featured keynote speaker Jay Rifenbary, whose presentation “No Excuse!” discussed incorporating core values, accountability and bringing balance into one’s life and career.

Additional breakout sessions focused on marketing and the importance of consistent advertising, effective website marketing, promoting consumer financing options and the often overlooked importance of making customers feel appreciated. Other sessions included important technical issues such as “Focusing on Moisture Control.” Attendees learned about new products and services during the event’s two-day product showcase.

One of the highlights of the convention was BWG’s awards presentation luncheon. This year, BWG recognized the following award recipients:

  • Tony and Kathy Sicilia, Floor & Home, Inc. Westwood, N.J. (Highest percentage increase).
  • Gary and Shelly Bertrain, Lee Appliance, Plattsburgh, N.Y. (Cross corporate account of the year).
  • Elite Flooring Specialist, Hartford, Conn. (Dealer of the year).

“Our 17th annual convention was a resounding success,” said Paul Castagliuolo, BWG president. “Thank you to all suppliers, service providers, employees and participants who joined us to renew friendships, forge new relationships and help plan for our shared future.”

The Belknap White Group created the FlooringPlus Loyalty Program to provide its customers with ongoing cogent information on merchandising, marketing, technology, education and business resources. Members enjoy the benefits of a group program while maintaining their independence and identity.

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Haines, Belknap-White form partnership

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

Deal leverages strengths, broadens opportunities

By Ken Ryan


Screen Shot 2017-11-27 at 10.16.19 AMHaines and Belknap-White Group, the No. 1- and 3-ranked flooring distributors in annual revenue with a combined $700 million in 2017 sales, announced the formation of a partnership intended to improve the strategic effectiveness of both organizations.

As part of this arrangement, each company will hold a seat on the other’s board of directors, and Belknap will hold limited shares in Haines by virtue of an equity investment in Haines, the industry’s top distributor with 2017 revenue at $490 million (FCNews, Nov. 6/13). The investment will help the Glen Burnie, Md.-based wholesaler reduce debt and continue to invest in new business initiatives. “It is a real win for us,” Michael Barrett, president and CEO of Haines, told FCNews.

Barrett emphasized the Belknap-White investment should in no way be misconstrued. “We didn’t need the money; we saw it as a way to start a collaboration process that allows us to do things at a quicker pace than we could have done on our own. We’ve done a lot of benchmarking and best practices with [Belknap-White] in the past. Through this alliance we are taking benchmarking and best practices to a new level.”

The two distributors, members of the Bravo Services Group, will continue to operate as they do today with no change in the leadership structure at either organization.

Ray Mancini, CEO of Mansfield, Mass.-based Belknap-White, said his company is excited to be working with the Haines team in “creating a flooring platform from Maine to Florida that differentiates us from our competitors while working together to help our customers be more successful.”

Specifically, Barrett said the partnership will help both companies in the areas of logistics and global sourcing. “This official relationship will allow us to work very directly with Belknap-White and opens doors in helping us build a strong distribution business. In some areas, they might be able to help us, and they can learn from us as well. It is really a two-way opportunity.”

Employees from Belknap-White will be invited to spend time with their counterparts at Haines to learn how their internal operation works. Conversely, Haines will send some of its key staff to work alongside Belknap-White employees in areas of strategic importance. “My approach is I don’t have all the answers,” Barrett explained. “They do things on the sales and marketing side that we think we can learn from.”

The distributors formed a six-person steering committee with three members on each side. The idea is to collaborate on ways to make each stronger in their respective markets at a time of consolidation within the distribution industry. “The number of distributors is going to shrink in the industry over time,” Barrett stated. “Having a partner like Belknap helps us become stronger.”

One aim of this partnership is to create added value for its vendor partners. Both Haines and Belknap-White are long-term Armstrong distributors. Earlier this year, they were recipients of the Thomas Armstrong Award, which recognizes wholesalers that exemplify integrity, a resilience of spirit and a deep dedication to their customers.

Don Maier, president and CEO of Armstrong Flooring, hailed both companies as exceptional distribution leaders. “Their collective financial strength has allowed them each to invest in their business, build exceptional sales capabilities and deliver world-class service,” he told FCNews. “We believe their partnership should encourage even higher levels of business excellence.”

Maier said he does not believe the alliance will have any negative impact on Armstrong, noting, “Solid, long-standing relationships with our distribution partners, in every geographic region, allow us to continue our legacy of excellence…We believe the investment and collaboration between these two phenomenal distributors should lead to good results, both for them and Armstrong Flooring.”

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Belknap White (Patriot) expanding Armstrong residential product coverage

Screen Shot 2014-12-02 at 10.18.05 AMLancaster, Pa.—Armstrong announced Belknap White (Patriot) will expand its Armstrong residential market footprint into Southern Connecticut, Metro New York and Northern New Jersey effective Jan. 1, 2015. In addition to the current Armstrong and Bruce wood offerings, residential sheet, residential tile, laminate, as well as all sundries supporting these categories, will be added.

Apollo Distributing will continue servicing Armstrong Commercial (VCT, commercial sheet vinyl, linoleum, LVT, wall base and the sundries supporting these categories) in the market stated above.

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Belknap, NH dealer join Armstrong in HFOT project

Cat Dewitt, Bob Watters- Armstrong, Matt McGuire- HFOT, Matt  Dewitt- HFOT veteran
Cat Klein (fiancée to Matt DeWitt); Bob Watters, Armstrong; Matt McGuire, HFOT; SSG Matt DeWitt

Lancaster, Pa. — Volunteers gathered to help finish a brand new home built by Homes for Our Troops (HFOT) for Army SSG Matthew DeWitt late last month in Hopkinton, N.H., with distributor Belknap White and Nashua, N.H., retailer Nashua Wallpaper and Paint Carpet One joining together with  Armstrong Floor Products to donate flooring and installation.

All homes are built by HFOT mortgage-free to the veteran through the support of individuals, foundations and corporate contributors.

“Having a house that is built around my needs so I can have an easier time doing day-to-day things will help ease some of the stress and frustration that comes from having a severe disability for me and my family, ” said Army SSG DeWitt, who also thanked supporters of Homes for Our Troops for contributing to make this possible.

Armstrong, as the exclusive flooring supplier to HFOT, provided floors for the home. Belknap White donated 50% of the cost of the flooring for this home and local retailer Nashua Wallpaper and Paint Carpet One donated the installation. Rebecca Keiler, Armstrong sales rep and husband John Keiler, as well as Armstrong sales rep Bob Watters were among the volunteers.

While on his first deployment on the night of July 22, 2003, in Khalidiyah, Iraq, SSG DeWitt and members of the 4th Battalion, 64thArmor Regiment, 3ID came under enemy attack and exchanged heavy firefight. In the ensuing chaos as SSG DeWitt was positioning to take down a suspected enemy’s house, his weapon was struck by a rocket propelled grenade. The hit left SSG DeWitt with devastating injuries resulting in the amputation of both arms below the elbow, damage to his eardrums and extensive skin grafts to his face, legs and arms.

The key ceremony for SSG DeWitt is scheduled for Saturday Nov. 8, 2014, at 11 a.m.

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HomerWood names its top distributors for 2013

Left to right: Ryon Ganser, Belknap White; Paul Walker, HomerWood; Rich Vanbuskirk, Belknap White; Sean Connolly, Belknap White; Mike May, HomerWood.
Left to right: Ryon Ganser, Belknap White; Paul Walker, HomerWood; Rich Vanbuskirk, Belknap White; Sean Connolly, Belknap White; Mike May, HomerWood.

Titusville, Pa.  – HomerWood has announced that Belknap White and BR Funsten/Tom Duffy Company have been named Co-Distributors of the Year for 2013.

“Both Belknap White and BR Funsten/Tom Duffy Company are wonderful partners for HomerWood and we are thrilled to recognize them,” said Paul Walker, general manager, HomerWood. “From the top down, they epitomize everything you could wish for in a business partner and we are very grateful for all of their support.  Both have fully embraced our recent product and merchandising initiatives and have leveraged these to achieve significant growth for our companies in 2013. We thank Raymond, Curt and their entire teams and are proud to be associated with them.”

Mansfield, Mass.-based Belknap White is one of the top 10 flooring distributors in the nation and serves New England, New York and Northern New Jersey.   “We value and are thrilled with our partnership with HomerWood,” said Ray Mancini, president, Belknap White. “They have both a high quality product line and high quality employees. It’s like doing business with family. We look forward to our continued partnership.”

BR Funsten/Tom Duffy Company is a market leading distributor and serves Arizona, California and Nevada with more than 27 locations.  “We are thrilled to be recognized for our efforts with HomerWood in 2013,” said Curt Thompson, president and COO of B.R. Funsten. “We have a very strong partnership that starts at the local level and extends to the top of their organization and it’s through this strong collaboration that we’ve achieved success.  We are already off to a great start in 2014 and look forward to an even greater relationship.”



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HomerWood welcomes Belknap White as a distributor partner

Warm and inviting hardwood is captured in smoked hickory from HomerWood Premium Hardwood. The charred, smoky appearance evokes a sense of depth and mystery using a technique achieved by gently flaming the wood prior to staining and finishing, for a floor that is equally appropriate in either a residential or commercial setting.

Titusville, Pa.  – HomerWood announced on Feb. 12  the addition of The Belknap White Group, a 35-year old flooring distributor operating in New England and upstate New York, as a distributor of its solid and engineered hardwood floors, effective immediately.

According to HomerWood general manager Paul Walker, the relationship with Belknap White will have a positive impact on retailers and on the business. “This is a strategic decision that makes sense for both parties – HomerWood and The Belknap White Group.  With HomerWood, Belknap can strengthen the operations of both businesses for the benefit of the customers they serve in the Northeast.  Like HomerWood, Belknap is committed to being a preferred partner by ensuring that every interaction is a positive experience.” Continue reading HomerWood welcomes Belknap White as a distributor partner

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No stopping resilient's momentum

In a black universe, vinyl is the shining star. That was the assessment of Elias Wilf president Jeff Striegel, who like many of his brethren sees resilient products as the beacon of light amid the darkness. In recent years, many of the leading flooring distributors have increased their percentage of resilient offerings, from the high single digits to low double-digits. Continue reading No stopping resilient's momentum

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IndusParquet set to bring stability to exotics market, former BR-111 supplier goes direct to U.S. distributors

Hicksville, N.Y.—Brazilian hardwood flooring manufacturer IndusParquet, which had been supplying the United States market with its exotics portfolio for the past 20 years through a private-label arrangement with BR-111, will now service dealers directly through many of the industry’s top distributors. Jason Strong, the former vice president of sales for BR-111, will head up the business as vice president of sales and marketing. Continue reading IndusParquet set to bring stability to exotics market, former BR-111 supplier goes direct to U.S. distributors