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B.R. Funsten: Single-source solutions provider

December 18/25, 2017: Volume 32, Issue 14

The following is the 12th installment in a series highlighting the 14 distributors that constitute Bravo Services, a group comprising many of the top flooring wholesalers in the country. Here we focus on B.R. Funsten.

 

Founded in San Francisco in 1956 by Benjamin Reed Funsten, The B.R. Funsten & Co. has successfully grown into one of the largest flooring wholesalers in the nation. The Manteca, Calif.-based flooring wholesaler is the parent company of the Tom Duffy Co. and Commercial Solutions; together the group provides the most comprehensive group of products and services across all flooring channels throughout California, Nevada and Arizona.

B.R. Funsten started primarily as the Armstrong distributor for northern California and northern Nevada, and Armstrong remains its premier supplier. Then, 20 years ago, Funsten purchased the Tom Duffy Co., a flooring installation supplies operation. Since then the wholesaler has expanded throughout California, Nevada, and Arizona with 28 branches.

According to Anne Funsten, president, B.R. Funsten’s competitive advantage stems from the depth and breadth of its diversified portfolio, which has expanded over the years to encompass all aspects of flooring. “Whether you are tearing up an old floor, prepping to install a new floor or selecting your finished floor, we have a solution for you. We work with the best manufacturers from all aspects of the flooring industry—Armstrong, Roppe, Ardex, Burke, Diamatic, Bostic and Mapei. We are a single-source supplier for the retailers.”

Going above and beyond
As with any industry, a big challenge is staying on the cutting edge of technology. B.R. Funsten made the decision to convert its Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) capabilities to Kerridge Commercial Solution’s K8 distribution management system. K8 provides automation that ensures distributors can maximize their warehouse efficiency without compromising accuracy. The software automates processes such as goods receipt, replenishment, stock movement and stock counts.

Nuts & bolts
Geographic coverage: California, Arizona and Nevada
Brands: Ardex, Armstrong, Bostic, Burke, HF Design, Independence Hardwood, Kahrs, Mapei, Quick-Step, Roppe, Schluter, Sika, TEC, The Mission Collection,  USG, XL Brands

 

For more information on B.R. Funsten, call 800.479.5671 or visit brfunsten.com. For more information on Bravo Services, contact John Carney at 214.215.2880 or visit bravoservices.com.

 

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Apollo Distributing: A family affair

November 6/13, 2017: Volume 32, Issue 11

 

The following is the 11th installment in a series highlighting the 14 distributors that constitute Bravo Services, a group comprising many of the top flooring wholesalers in the country. Here we focus on Apollo Distributing.

Screen Shot 2017-11-13 at 9.51.59 AMIt began in 1920 in Newark, N.J., when entrepreneur David Slobodien founded the Apollo Radio Co. to market a device to improve radio reception. It was well received and after many years of hard work and astute business management he grew the company into an appliance and electronic powerhouse distributing the finest brand names such as Crosley, Norge and Zenith throughout the New York metropolitan marketplace.

Forty-two years later, in 1962, David relinquished the reins of Apollo leadership to his son, Richard Slobodien, and retired. Under Richard’s skillful direction the business continued to grow and prosper. In response to changing business conditions, he redirected the company’s focus to the distribution of floor covering products with the purchase and assimilation of the O.F. Ruprecht flooring distribution company and, at a later date, the acquisition of Empire Carpet Co., a distribution division of Armstrong World Industries. In 1973, he moved the company to its current nine-acre location in Fairfield, N.J. The company, Apollo Distributing, was soon recognized as a leading flooring distributor.

Screen Shot 2017-11-13 at 9.51.53 AMIn 1995, Richard Slobodien stepped aside to permit his son, and David’s grandson, Keith Slobodien, to become Apollo’s third president. Under his leadership Apollo has continued to excel by following the successful examples set by his father and grandfather. Of note, two of Keith’s college-age children, Harrison and Rachel, have completed the second of three Apollo summer internships to familiarize them with flooring distribution.

Tradition and continuity are important at Apollo. Among Apollo’s family of employees, 25- and 30-year tenures of service are common. Externally, in the metropolitan New York dealer base, many key accounts have built their solid relationships with Keith upon associations their parents established. An example is Apollo’s 35-year-old partnership with Armstrong Flooring.

“Floor covering distribution is in our blood,” Keith Slobodien said. “It is our passion. The business lessons learned from my family are elementary. They are: first, represent the finest products; second, provide the best service possible; and third, be fair to everyone. If we remain true to these principles the future of our company will continue to be bright and, who knows, maybe it will include contributions from additional family members.”

 

For more information on Apollo Distributing, call 973.228.5000 or visit apollodist.com. For more information on Bravo Services, contact John Carney at 214.215.2880 or visit bravoservices.com.

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Buckwold: Legacy forged on honesty and integrity

August 28/September 4: Volume 32, Issue 6

The following feature is the ninth installment in a series highlighting the 14 distributors that constitute Bravo Services, a group comprising many of the top flooring wholesalers in the country. Here we focus on Buckwold Western.

Screen Shot 2017-09-05 at 12.16.44 PMBuckwold Western has been family owned and operated since 1925, spanning four generations of the Buckwold family. Founded by Harry Buckwold as a general dry goods distributor selling pots and pans, clothing, footwear, furniture and the original painted oil cloth rugs, floor covering became part of the business in the late 1940s and is now its only focus. Buckwold Western became an Armstrong distributor in 1952 and today is the exclusive Armstrong distributor in Western Canada.

Buckwold Western’s seasoned sales team includes commercial specifiers who drive business for its customers by encouraging project developers to select products on which its dealer/supplier partners can profit. Its association with Bravo Services gives Buckwold’s management and staff access to creative ideas and cutting-edge technology it uses in the marketplace. “Our strong customer base, low-cost distribution network, strong Screen Shot 2017-09-05 at 12.16.53 PMfinancial position and exceptional sales team set the foundation to add value to all of our customers and suppliers,” said Bruce Buckwold, president. “Most importantly, we strive for honesty, integrity and mutually beneficial long-term relationships in our dealings with all our business partners.”

A big challenge today is responding effectively to a new generation of competitors, including direct Internet sellers and suppliers of lower-quality offshore product. “Many smaller competitors and agents are importing flooring materials and competing on price alone through the Internet while offering minimal service and unreliable quality,” Buckwold said. “This makes it difficult for consumers and retailers to differentiate between quality and price. Educating the market is an ongoing challenge and goal for us.”

Going above and beyond
Buckwold Western is the only full-line flooring distributor with warehousing in the six major centers of Western Canada; as such, it can provide locally stocked inventory, cheaper freight and logistical fluidity. The company’s warehouses can stage multi-family, new housing and large commercial projects, and its local service centers can assist dealers in managing inventory and costs.

Nuts & bolts
Geographic coverage: Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, Northwest Territory, Nunavut, Ontario, Saskatchewan and Yukon Territory. Buckwold Western’s sister company, Wanke Cascade, services the U.S. Pacific Northwest with three locations.

Brands: Armstrong Flooring, Carpenter, Carpet Craft, Cascade, Crossville, Dansk Hardwood, EasyStep, Glide N Guard, Johnsonite, Lexmark, Phenix, SCI.

 

For more information on Buckwold Western, call 306.652.1660 or visit buckwold.com. For more information on Bravo Services, contact
John Carney at 214.215.2880 or visit bravoservices.com.