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CarpetsPlus Colortile holds fourth annual buying committee meeting

CPBC2017_featuredChattanooga, Tenn.—CarpetsPlus Colortile the business networking and resource-licensing group, recently held its fourth annual buying committee meeting here at Holiday Inn Downtown Chattanooga, Oct. 23-26, to evaluate, strategize, discuss and plan the group’s merchandising and other programs for the coming year.

Kevin Logue, co-COO and vice president marketing for CarpetsPlus Colortile, presented the main objectives on Monday morning to begin the event. The meeting included subjects such as product and merchandising plans for 2018, e-commerce, labor shortages for installation and other industry challenges.

“The initial vision we had of the buying committee meeting was to have them in early enough to make decisions for the coming year for the group,” Logue said. “The few days we spent together were busy but very important for the success and profitability of our entire group. We really value their input and opinions and so do our suppliers.”

Jon Logue, co-CEO of CarpetsPlus Colortile, added, “It’s an exciting time to be in business right now with the strength of the economy and innovations in the flooring industry. Consumer confidence is high, unemployment is at its lowest levels in 16 years and the remodeling index is up 7%. We see a big growth opportunity for our members. They’re helping us make some key decisions this week.”

Seven member stores were in attendance this year with nine total representatives from those stores. Member Missy Montgomery, Venice, Fla., was happy with the way things played out. “I feel the representation of this year’s committee was very diverse. We did a good job of representing everyone from the smallest of companies to the largest and I believe the decisions made will benefit all.”

Members were also able to engage with some of the group’s major suppliers that presented new product intros for 2018. Mohawk, IVC, Tarkett, US Floors, Dixie Home and Shaw were among the suppliers who were in attendance. Open discussions and feedback from all attendees ensued after each presentation.

The group reviewed new products and special buys as well as discussed 2018 strategies for proposed merchandising. They saw carpet and hard surface displays and provided feedback for display improvements.

Members were also able to visit two Shaw plants during the meeting, the LVT plant in Ringgold, Ga., and the hardwood plant in South Pittsburg, Tenn.

 

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CarpetsPlus Colortile holds third annual buying committee

screen-shot-2015-11-12-at-3-38-37-pmChattanooga, Tenn.CarpetsPlus Colortile recently held its third annual buying committee meeting at the Holiday Inn Downtown, here, Nov. 1-4. The committee acts as an advisory council working with executive management to cast the vision and forge the path forward for the group into 2017.

Ten member stores were in attendance this year with 12 total representatives from those stores. Member Missy Montgomery, Montgomery’s CarpetsPlus in Venice, Fla., was happy with the way things played out. “I feel the representation of this year’s committee was very diverse. We did a good job of representing everyone from the smallest of companies to the largest and I believe the decisions made will benefit all.”

Four main objectives were presented on Tuesday morning to begin the event. Key action items included roll and pallet stocking program strategies as well as product and merchandising plans for 2017. As in years past, select suppliers presented their new introductions, answered questions and discussed plans for the future.

The group reviewed new products and special buys as well as discussed 2017 strategies as the suppliers presented their products. Their last day was spent discussing and reviewing new 2017 proposed merchandising. They saw carpet and hard surface displays and provided feedback for display improvements.

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CarpetsPlus gets first look at Destination showroom concept

October10/17, 2016: Volume 31, Number 9
By Ken Ryan

cp-destination-showroom_0161Pittsburgh—All buying groups use networking opportunities and best practices to educate their members. CarpetsPlus Colortile is going one step further with its biennial summit meetings where one member retailer hosts other floor covering dealers in a show-and-tell format.

This year SP Floors & Design Gallery of Canonsburg, Pa. unveiled the group’s first fully furnished Destination showroom. Introduced in 2015, Destination started as a carpet boutique within the showroom and expanded to include hard surfaces and displays that emphasize fashion and color.

Stacey Pape, owner of SP Floors, reflected on the implementation of the Destination format. In building her store—a former Ethan Allen showroom—she wanted to create an environment that was more fun and enjoyable for customers. “We wanted something different, something people would talk about—a showroom that was off the wall and bizarre but when put together it is pretty neat.”

SP Floors spans 12,000 square feet, including warehouse space. The Destination portfolio includes 10 displays featuring banners such as Color Destination, Performance Destination, Fashion Destination and Design Destination. CarpetsPlus dealers have the option of taking on as many displays as they choose or none at all—it is up to them. In creating a more fun environment for customers, SP Floors cordoned off an area just off the entrance where customers can sit, have a drink or snack, watch television, pet Aspen (the company’s mascot) or discuss their needs with sales associates.

Another focal point is the 400-square-foot builder selection center. Two-thirds of Pape’s business, or $4 million a year, is generated from the builder trade. Several years ago, SP Floors partnered with Maronda Homes, a large builder in western Pennsylvania, to create the new department. Maronda Home buyers can make an appointment to visit the showroom and select new carpeting, flooring, countertop and cabinetry options through a spreadsheet program with drop-down menu options.

“What’s really nice about it is we’re able to help the homeowner pull it all together in one place,” Pape said. While the initial set-up for the builder selection center took some time, she said it all works seamlessly in the end. In all, SP Floors works with 10 builders that service the local market.

Pape started SP Floors from scratch in 2009, at a time when the builder business was in the tank. Today hers is a $6 million enterprise. “Stacey built an amazing business in seven years out of nothing,” said Ron Dunn, co-CEO of Alliance Flooring, which oversees CarpetsPlus Colortile.

Dealers react favorably

outsidegroupcrazyCarpetsPlus Colortile dealers who attended the event applaud the new Destination format. Josh Elder, owner of Gainesville CarpetsPlus Colortile, who is on the buying committee that has been developing this program, said he loves the 56-pin carpet displays because they free up so much room. “It’s like I told one of my reps: ‘Every inch of my showroom has a cost associated with it, and I want the biggest bang for my buck.’ What I am seeing is the manufacturers are also embracing this concept and coming out with new private-labeled products, which is one of the big reasons for being in a group. Plus, it was time for an overhaul of our old displays that are now 10-plus years old.”

Elder is not alone. Paul Schallberg, co-owner of Star Flooring & Design, Boulder, Colo., says the seamless layout of SP Floors makes it easy to move from one department to another. “The Destination concept is something we are excited about. It is bringing the best products from the premier carpet mills and hard surface manufacturers in an easy-to-use, easy-to-sell private- labeled display program. We are definitely all in.”

The Destination program will be fully launched at the group’s annual convention in Atlanta. In the meantime, CarpetsPlus is seeking input from members on what elements—i.e., marketing tools, upgraded website, private-labeled merchandising programs—are important in driving the Destination program. “Our goal is to get everyone who has been here to this summit to get on board,” Dunn said.

During the Summit, members got a sneak peek at Web Pro 3.0, the group’s new online digital marketing program offering search engine optimization, a monthly Google Analytics report and other tools that can be customized for members. “We’ve gotten nothing but positive reviews,” said David Ellis, advertising and public relations manager for CarpetsPlus Colortile, who gave a demo of the program during the summit. “They really love the update, they think it’s fantastic.”

From fresh merchandising concepts to selling aids and tools, it’s all designed to boost sales and profits for members. “The purpose of a summit is for members to leave with a few things they can take away for their businesses,” Dunn explained.

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Alliance Flooring: Introductions enhance Destination location

March 14/21, 2016; Volume 30, Number 19

By Nadia Ramlakhan

Screen Shot 2016-03-21 at 9.56.16 AMTucson, Ariz.—On the heels of its recent success with the 2015 launch of the Destination program, Alliance Flooring revealed the next stage of this initiative at the group’s annual convention held here March 4-7. With 385 members in attendance—the most since 2009—the focal point of this year’s introductions revolved around a “natural extension” of the group’s flagship program, according to Kevin Logue, vice president of marketing and co-COO.

What started as a carpet boutique within the showroom has expanded into hard surface and will eventually include new POP materials and advertising efforts. “Everyone was in agreement at stores across the U.S.,” explained Ryan Dunn, vice president of sales and co-COO. “They loved the new displays and said they were really grabbing the consumer’s attention. So we thought, ‘Where do we go from here? How do we continue to grow?’”

While the initial launch of the Destination program drew upon color, pattern and performance, phase two includes the Fashion Destination, which serves as a design center for retailers; the Hardwood Destination, which puts dealers at the forefront of the hard surface category’s gain in market share, and Destination Cut Sets, a pair of displays to complement the package.

The Fashion Destination offers a wide selection of products for dealers to work with in a two-tiered display that features 56 cards. “At the end of the day, we’re in the business of creating beautiful spaces, beautiful rooms and beautiful homes,” Logue said. “We’re in the fashion business and that’s the way we need to look at ourselves. [The Fashion Destination] is a one-stop destination in a CarpetsPlus retail showroom for style, design, pattern, color—it has it all right there. It’s a beacon intended to draw consumers in and give them opportunities to get aw
ay from beige or taupe. It’s designed to suggest and offer a designer approach to doing something different or making a statement.”

Screen Shot 2016-03-21 at 9.56.59 AMRetailers are also looking forward to continuing their success with the Destination program in light of the new displays. “It’s changing the way we [will] market in the future,” said Stacey Pape, president of SP Floors and Design Center in McMurray, Pa. “It makes us more professional and pulls us together as a group. It gives us the vehicles that can help us sell and better promote our stores and image. It’s really taking us to the next level.”

Todd Ramsey, co-owner of 3 Kings CarpetsPlus ColorTile in Fort Wayne, Ind., noted the new additions to the program will help differentiate the CarpetsPlus brand from other groups in
the industry. “We all know we are in the fashion business but if you don’t show that to the consumer as soon as she walks through the door, you are not allowing yourself to make higher margins on your products. The displays, the wood, colorations, etc., allow us to sell a product at a higher margin because it looks nicer. [This program] will put us ahead of the curve and on the cutting edge of development, technology and fashion.”

Rustic, timeworn hickories, wide planks, mixed widths and wire-brushed oaks—among other on-trend visuals—can be found across 48 SKUs in the Hardwood Destination. “Hard surface is becoming half the industry or more, depending on what part of the country you are in,” said Ron Dunn, co-CEO. “It’s not only functional but it’s a design product as well. So now the whole showroom flows together and lets you design all aspects of [the home].”

Hand-in-hand with the Hardwood Destination is the group’s new Cut-A-Rug program as every product in the Fashion Destination is available in wall-to-wall or custom area rugs. Because consumers who buy hard surface flooring typically purchase a
n area rug two to three weeks later, the Cut-A-Rug program aims to eliminate big box stores from the equation and allow retailers to offer custom area rug options without having to manage inventory.

“It’s extra-high-margin business right there for the taking,” Logue said. “We definitely see opportunities with cross merchandising hard surface and area rugs. It’s a challenge for specialty retailers to be in the area rug business; devoting the floor space and cash is not something everyone is willing to do. So the beauty of Cut-A-Rug is it puts someone in the rug business and gives them options, styles and designs they can sell the consumer. We want them to get [these choices] from us.”

Screen Shot 2016-03-21 at 9.57.05 AMJon Logue, co-CEO, said the Destination displays allow for a more cohesive showroom set up. “When a consumer walks in a typical store, she will find soft surface flooring [in one area] and she will run to the other side to look at the hard surfaces and then she will run back to look at rugs. So what we are trying to do is focus on creating a complete destination.”

Josh Elder, co-owner of Gainesville CarpetsPlus in Gainesville, Fla., is one dealer who exited the area rug business and can appreciate the efficiency of the complementary Destination displays. “I got tired of having tens of thousands of dollars in inventory,” he said. “And now with the Cut-A-Rug program, we can sit down with the homeowner and design [a rug] quickly and it ships right to her. We can modify and tweak them as much as we’d like. It makes it a lot easier not only for the consumer but for my staff and me as well. Instead of having 100 rugs in stock we have 10,000 in a smaller space.”

With the introduction of Destination phase two, Ryan Dunn and Kevin Logue hope to refresh the group’s identity as a whole and eventually turn the entire retail showroom into a Destination location rather than featuring Destination displays within the store. The 2016 member summit, scheduled to take place later this year at SP Floors and Design Center, will be one of the first looks into a fully transformed retail showroom.

“We had a great turnout with the Destination program and I think this year will equally piggyback that,” Ryan Dunn said. “This year is really the launch of the Destination location—it’s going to be a whole new look and revival to our entire program and who we are. Ron [Dunn] and Jon [Logue] started this in 1997 and we’ve always been a group of options—a hodgepodge of product. This is going to give a jolt to not only our membership but the industry as well.”

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SP Floors and Design Center named CarpetsPlus Colortile retailer of year

Drive2016_Awards_CPCT-ROYTucson, Ariz.–CarpetsPlus Colortile named Stacey Pape, owner of SP Floors and Design Center in Pittsburgh, as its retailer of the year during the CarpetsPlus Colortile annual convention, March 4 to 7, at Tucson’s Starr Pass Resort.

From left, Ryan Dunn. co-COO and VP Sales, CarpetsPlus Colortile; Ron Dunn, co-CEO CarpetsPlus Colortile; Stacey Pape, owner, SP Floors; Veronica Sutyak, general manager, SP Floors; Jon Logue, co-CEO CarpetsPlus Colortile; and Kevin Logue, co-COO and VP marketing CarpetsPlus Colortile.

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CarpetsPlus ColorTile holds second annual buying committee meeting

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Chattanooga, Tenn.—CarpetsPlus ColorTile recently held its second annual buying committee meeting Oct. 27-29 at Spring Hill Suites here to evaluate, strategize, discuss and plan the group’s merchandising and programs for the upcoming year. The meeting included subjects such as roll stocking program strategies as well as product and merchandising plans for 2016.

Ten member stores were in attendance with twelve total representatives.

“We were looking for input from this focus group of members who represented different areas of the country on strategies for merchandising and products and to select products for our roll stocking programs,” said Kevin Logue, co-COO and vice president of marketing for CarpetsPlus ColorTile. “Everyone seemed to be really pleased with how it went. Mission accomplished.”

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CarpetsPlus ColorTile’s co-CEO takes fifth drive across U.S.

Screen Shot 2015-10-19 at 2.05.43 PMChattanooga, Tenn.—Ron Dunn, co-CEO of CarpetsPlus ColorTile, and his wife Sandy hit the road in their RV visiting member stores for a fifth straight year, beginning Aug. 18.

Dunn discusses pressing topics with members first-hand, then shares his findings with the rest of the group through books and videos. The annual trip helps Dunn keep the group in touch with front-line marketing and advertising practices as well as what’s selling in different regions and how members are selling it.

“We’ve developed a nice three-part rhythm to each stop,” Dunn said, “[We] meet the staff, tour the store and learn how each business evolved and is currently running. Then [we] review key products, suppliers, best practices, new marketing initiatives and growth opportunities. [Third] we interview owners and staff members. They are sharing great insights on how to be effective and how to lead.”

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CarpetsPlus Colortile reveals annual convention details

Screen Shot 2015-09-16 at 3.27.43 PMTucson, Ariz.—CarpetsPlus Colortile will hold its annual convention March 4-7 at the Starr Pass Resort here. The group’s convention, Drive 2016: Destination Tucson, will focus on helping members take the next step in the vision for their businesses.

The 2016 show will feature a welcome gathering Friday night, opening session and rush hour Saturday and general session, exhibit hall and awards banquet Sunday.

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Newest member of CarpetsPlus ColorTile holds grand opening

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Andrews, N.C.—The newest member of CarpetsPlus ColorTile, Locust Trading Company, recently held its grand opening and ribbon cutting ceremony Aug. 21 here. Owners Margo and Kenny Locust were joined by members of community as well as industry figures to celebrate.

“Margo and Kenny are a true blend of passion for their jobs and compassion for others,” said Scott Humphrey, CEO of World Floor Covering Association (WFCA). “Their professionalism and expertise in the field of flooring is a perfect match for the beautiful community of Andrews.”

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CarpetsPlus ColorTile convened first buying committee meeting

CPCTBuyingCmteMtg_2014groupChattanooga, Tenn.—CarpetsPlus ColorTile, the business networking and resource-licensing group, recently held its first-ever buying committee meeting here.

Four main objectives were presented to kick-off the event, including subjects such as roll stocking program strategies, and product and merchandising strategies for 2015. After this short session, the group traveled to Calhoun and then to Dalton for mill visits.

Kevin Logue, co-COO and vice president of marketing for CarpetsPlus ColorTile, said, “we decided the time was right to move forward and raise the bar to add even more value to our group. If you’re staying the same, you’re actually going backwards. We have to constantly update and scan the horizon for better ways to operate. This is one of those times and a great opportunity to get input directly from dealers, who operate on the front lines of retail and hear all the questions and requests from their customers.”

As they visited their destinations, the group reviewed new products and special buys as well as discussed 2015 strategies. Their last stop was to review new 2015 proposed merchandising. They saw carpet and hard surface displays and provided excellent feedback for display improvements.