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Engineered Floors enters hard surface arena

June 11/18, 2018: Volume 33, Issue 26

By Reginald Tucker

 

Engineered Floors, the country’s third-largest carpet manufacturer, is looking to make a big splash in the hard surface arena with the launch of a pair of waterproof flooring collections—Revotec and Triumph.

Revotec is billed as a revolutionary, patented floating floor technology designed to mimic ceramic tile or stone. The line features an embedded, realistic-looking grout line but does not require backer boards, thin-set, separators or wet saws to install.

“It is warm to the touch, the grout line is stain resistant and it is quiet underfoot due to an acoustical attached underlayment,” said Ana Torrence, hard surface category manager. “And when trends change, it is easy to uninstall and replace with a new color.”

Triumph, the second collection in the new launch, offers an array of wood visuals on a high-density, rigid core. The waterproof offering touts high dimensional stability and is engineered to provide resistance to indentation and scratching. The product comes in several sizes and multi-width/length planks—6 x 48, 7 x 48 and 9 x 72—and features high-definition visuals reflecting the latest color trends.

Triumph consists of 42 SKUs, while Revotec will initially be available in 12 trendy visuals.

“Triumph is the perfect choice not only in performance but design as well,” Torrence said.

In support of the launch, Engineered Floors has developed stacker displays, which are currently shipping to retailers. In addition, the company is currently working on point-of-purchase materials, according to Torrence.

While suggested retail price points were not provided, early indications are the new collections will incorporate a good/better/best-selling strategy.

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Carpet: Fiber report—Color, cleanability and durability get the nod

May 14/21, 2018: Volume 33, Issue 24

By Ken Ryan

Today’s carpet products are developed with the consumer firmly in mind as mills gather research to ascertain what’s on their customers’ wish lists. More often than not, it is luxuriously soft carpet that combines stylish design, vibrant colors with durability.

That’s a tall order to deliver, but consumers have shown a desire to spend top dollar for these goods, and mills are working hard to accommodate them. “When we talk to consumers, soft is one of the top attributes they want, so we put our resource and development toward that,” said Jamie Welborn, vice president of residential carpet product management and development, Mohawk Industries.

Shaw Floors, meanwhile, looks at today’s residential market and sees active families with kids and pets who put great demands on carpet. “They have greater expectations of performance for their flooring,” said Teresa Tran, director of soft surface portfolio management, Shaw. “They need their carpet to be durable and spill resistant, yet soft and beautiful.”

It’s not just the carpet mills working on these innovations. Invista, maker of the Stainmaster and PetProtect brands, has spent significant R&D on its Antron fiber. It recently announced a $30-million expansion in small-lot equipment specifically for solution-dyed nylon 6,6 bulk continuous filament (BCF) fiber production to support growth of the Antron brand and the Lumena fiber portfolio that serves solution-dyed BCF nylon commercial markets. “The new technology will expand our capability to continue offering high-quality, solution-dyed nylon fiber solutions,” said Kip Kimball, vice president of Global Commercial Solutions and Home Textiles for Invista.

Phenix Flooring continues to work on new fiber systems that utilize unique cross-sections that—when combined with particular deniers and twist levels—produce textures and an outstanding tactile experience for consumers. “In addition, we constantly update our solution-dyed color bank to keep up with current color trends and styling preferences as well as supplement with leading space dye advances that give sophisticated ombrés and gradations of color,” said Chris Johnson, senior vice president of sales and marketing.

According to Mike Sanderson, vice president of marketing, Engineered Floors, consumers are becoming more receptive to the term “solution dyed,” and that is affecting their purchase decisions. “They are finding out that it’s superior to traditional piece-dyed carpets, which is exciting for our Dream Weaver retailers.”

Residential segment

The days when consumers carpeted the entire house are long gone, as residential carpet has been relegated mostly to the bedroom. However, studies have shown that when consumers are in the market for carpet, they are willing to spend extra money.

There’s even more encouraging news down the road, according to Shaw’s Brad Christensen, vice president, builder strategy, who observed that while Shaw is certainly seeing growth in its residential segments, single-family homebuilding is also trending.

“The average age of the first-time homebuyer is 32. With that statistic in mind, by 2025 there will be 24 million Americans between the ages of 30 and 34. Previous studies showed the millennial market preferred densely populated, walkable, urban neighborhoods that offer multifamily living spaces to the suburbs of their childhood. Yet, new surveys demonstrate that while millennials might be content urban, multifamily dwellers right now, they see themselves as single family homeowners in the future.”

Residential represents the largest growth segment for Southwind, according to Richard Abramowicz, executive vice president. As such, the company is putting the necessary resources behind it. “I think residential is the biggest growth opportunity for all of us and why we are trying to be innovative with our products. It’s a very big market.”

What’s new

Mohawk has championed the push of luxurious soft and that continues to be a major thrust with SmartStrand. As Mohawk’s Welborn noted, “SmartStrand fiber is softer than nylon and polyester, performs extremely well and has nice hand/bulk, and you will see us continue to expand in that area.”

As the movement toward cleaner homes grows, Mohawk, among others, is responding by adding Forever Clean to SmartStrand as well as ActivFresh technology to its Silk Colorwall line, which features new products in 2018. “Some of the products are tighter, denser, cleaner than the old Silk,” Welborn said. “From a technology standpoint, we added ActivFresh, an anti-microbial additive to the carpet, which is a new feature. You will see us expand in that growing segment.”

In Bellera High Performance Carpet, Shaw is giving consumers a wide variety of patterns, solids and textures from which to choose, albeit without sacrificing resiliency. “Our designers were extremely intentional with their choices, giving consumers numerous styles to match current trends,” Tran said. “We offer glamorous styles as seen in Outside the Lines, classic patterns in Diamonds Forever and Lead the Way, as well as visuals with a more organic look to complement modern farmhouse or coastal design trends. Each of these styles includes the attributes that make Bellera one of a kind.”

The fiber in Bellera has been treated with R2X soil and stain resistance technology and now features crush resistance to keep carpets lasting longer. To showcase the durability of its re-engineered fiber, Shaw simulated five years’ worth of activity with real people on Bellera carpet. When new Bellera samples and those with five years’ worth of wear were placed side by side, customers and RSAs alike were unable to tell the difference, Christensen said.

Phenix, which began showing carpet styles tufted from one of its new fiber systems during the winter markets, has identified a new yarn that provides great bulk and apparent value. “It has become one of our most anticipated launches, which we expect will lead to additional product opportunities,” Phenix’s Johnson said, referring to Opulence HD. “It’s a softer yarn that provides a look of luxury.”

Engineered Floors uses PureColor, a proprietary solution-dyed fiber, as its go-to market strategy at residential retail. “We try to educate the RSA and consumer on PureColor as often as possible,” Sanderson said. “Both groups are learning that since the color goes all the way through the fiber, stains that are detrimental to other carpets aren’t an issue with PureColor.”

Southwind’s Classic Traditions collection, a soft PET line, is being marketed as “eclectic patterns for everyday elegance.” It was shown at Surfaces 2018 and will feature eight stylish Color Point and LCL patterns that the company said are fashion-forward fabrics for the floor. “We had such a great response at Surfaces,” Abramowicz said.

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My take: The ins and outs of innovation

March 19/26, 2018: Volume 33, Issue 20

By Steven Feldman

 

Innovation. It’s more than a buzzword; it’s basically a blueprint for survival in the face of competition. Talk to any manufacturer, and most will tell you their ability to innovate is what sets it apart from the pack. Whether it’s a product like Air.o from Mohawk; a new locking system from Unilin, Välinge or Innovations 4 Flooring; a novel dyeing process; or some new wrinkle in the waterproof flooring category, innovation is truly the name of the game.

It’s a phenomenon not unique to flooring. Every company in virtually every industry must innovate, the success of which is predicated on a company’s ability to convey the benefits to end users and why this innovation truly matters.

I was reminded of this the other day as I was reading an article on innovation in the adult beverage industry. Back in 2013, the vodka category was beginning to go through a real identity crisis. For a while, the major innovation was flavored vodkas. Believe it or not, the first flavored vodka to hit the market was Absolut Peppar in 1986, seven years after the birth of the Absolut brand. But nearly 30 years later, the flavored vodka boom was ending, and vodka companies were scrambling to figure out ways to hold on to their growth and still remain relevant in a marketplace that was increasingly shifting toward whiskey. This sort of parallels carpet’s position as the marketplace had been shifting in the direction of hard surface since the turn of the 21st century.

Grey Goose was one of those brands that was really trying to navigate these changing vodka waters. In 2013, Bacardi, which owns the Grey Goose brand, saw a 5% decline in sales. Part of this falloff was attributed to Grey Goose’s decision to not chase the flavor trend too hard, but a more significant factor was unexpected competition from non-premium brands like Tito’s Vodka, which took significant share away from premium players like Grey Goose. For our industry, the parallel could be Royalty Carpet Mills, which saw its market share erode in the face of competition from new mills like Engineered Floors, Phenix and Lexmark Residential, to name a few. Royalty did not chase the hard surface business, either.

The problem with the vodka category, and its players, was it had enjoyed such effortless success for decades with very little need for innovation. Sort of like carpet not facing any appreciable hard surface competition until the mid-1990s, when laminate hit the scene and hardwood and ceramic became more readily available to the masses. While carpet was not going to lose its dominance to any one hard surface category, the landscape was clearly changing, and mills really had no maps to navigate the road ahead.

What Grey Goose did with VX was akin to what Mohawk has successfully done with Air.o, which looks and smells like carpet but is billed as Unified Soft Flooring. Grey Goose VX isn’t technically a vodka: the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau slapped a “spirit drink” classification on the brand and bottle. Grey Goose VX is essentially Grey Goose vodka finished with a hint of cognac. The bottle does disclose that it’s a blend of 95% vodka and 5% cognac, the same ratio that’s common with spirit whiskey.

Grey Goose VX infuses some of the flavors that cognac offers without fundamentally disrupting the vodka experience. Sort of like Mohawk improving some of the attributes of carpet (health, installation, etc.) without disrupting the carpet experience.

The important thing to keep in mind with any innovation is pricing. The end user must see the value. The big problem with Grey Goose VX when it launched was the price. Given that Grey Goose vodka typically sells for around $30, the leap to $75 a bottle for Grey Goose VX was pretty dramatic. It begged the question, “Why not spend the money on a good cognac instead?” Once ultra-premium vodka leaves the $40-$50 price point, there’s a real question over what you’re really paying for. We saw that with laminate not too long ago. As manufacturers innovated to improve style and performance, the price could reach a point where the consumer could purchase real hardwood.

Innovation is a requisite for success. But it must be well thought out and provide a solution—at the right price.

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Bolyu Contract, Aqua Hospitality undergo rebranding

Dalton, Ga.—Engineered Floors has restructured and rebranded the commercial flooring businesses of Bolyu Commercial and Aqua Hospitality, following Engineered Floors’ purchase of the operating assets of the Beaulieu Group. Bolyu and Aqua will now be known as EF Contract and EF Hospitality.

Both companies will utilize Engineered Floors’ state-of-the-art manufacturing processes as well as the company’s new modular flooring facility that produces the Nexus carpet tile and Kinetex textile composite flooring. With EF Contract’s full integration into Engineered Floors, the Nexterra carpet tile manufactured and sold by Bolyu has been discontinued.

EF Contract will offer modular carpet, broadloom carpet, LVT and Kinetex, an advanced textile composite flooring that combines key attributes of carpet with the long-wearing performance characteristics of hard-surface flooring. EF Contract will focus on the low-to­mid range of the market, while J+J will focus on the mid-to-upper end of the market.

“We will benefit from the significant investments made by Engineered Floors and look to be an industry leader with product, service and value for commercial flooring contractors and A&D,” said Brad Root, senior vice president of sales and marketing, EF Contract.

Root was formerly an area vice president of sales for Interface and a regional vice president of sales for Shaw Commercial. He is joined by Susan Curtis, the vice president of design and marketing, who has held similar design/creative roles with Mohawk, Invista, Atlas, Bentley Mills, and most recently, Phenix Flooring. Leading the EF Hospitality team is David Daughtrey, an industry veteran with prior sales, development and marketing roles with Mohawk, J+J and Bolyu/Aqua.

For more information, visit: efcontractflooring.com.

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FCNews exclusive: Bob Shaw—The interview

January 22/29, 2018: Volume 33, Issue 16

 

The year was 2009. The economy was in a freefall. Carpet was losing market share to hard surface. You’re nearly an octogenarian with enough money in the bank to last multiple lifetimes. You’re golf game remains respectable. Conventional wisdom dictates that the last thing you would ever do is launch a carpet mill. But conventional has never been a word in Bob Shaw’s vocabulary. Quite the contrary. Mr. Shaw has always prided himself on pioneering step changes and disruptive technology, much like Henry Ford.

Almost a decade later, Engineered Floors has grown to become the largest carpet mill beyond the two behemoths. It’s a success story in every sense of the word. FCNews publisher Steven Feldman recently sat down with Mr. Shaw for an extremely rare, in-depth discussion on how the mill got from there to here while sharing what was going through his mind every step of the way from day one.

What is the mindset behind the launching of a carpet mill when the economy was anything but robust?
Why at 77 years old would somebody want to go back in a business called carpet when it looked like it was dying? Well, it was a situation where [the industry] was more than just about going to polyester. It was going to a way that we could better control quality. We were going to pre-dyed yarns, solution-dyed yarns. And if you look at the industry, we all have these continuous dye ranges. We still have probably 80% of residential carpet being pieced dyed or continuous dyed. Why? That’s what these yarn mills were designed to do. Most of the carpet was solid color in those days. So you had a hard decision. Are you going to replace yourself with less dollar sales because of PET being cheaper?

But the biggest thing I think we were missing is we had made up our mind that hard surface was going to take over a much larger percentage of the marketplace than it really would over a long period of time. And we had a lot of consolidation in the last 10-20 years. We probably lost at least 10 to 12 carpet manufacturers through purchase or just plain going out of business.

I would say [Engineered Floors] has been in a depression or recession business since we went into business in 2009. So why would somebody go into a depressed business? I saw capital moving away from soft floor covering, and my two major competitors were spending considerably more money moving away from residential. They were moving into the carpet tile business, because one of the biggest problems we always had in the commercial end of the carpet business was how do you install it. Well, to take a square or a plank is a lot easier to install. So we were spending money as an industry moving into the modular carpet business. But on the residential end of the business, more or less no dollars were necessarily being spent, no new products were being presented. And it looked to me like no one cared about being in the residential end of the business because they thought it was going to be replaced.

So, that was the opportunity?
I think the opportunity was there. But there’s another thing that came about. The ownerships were moving beyond the entrepreneurial ownerships into the Berkshire Hathaways, and Warren [Buffett] is a great investor, believe me, that’s what he does. He invests money. And then you take Mohawk, which was doing a fantastic job of assimilating worldwide manufacturers into their $9 billion business today. But they were spending very little money toward backward integration and growing the industry they were in.

We also had no foreign competition. Now that is a very important part of the whole thing. I’ll use LVT. You have to compete with the Chinese and you have to meet the Koreans. Because anybody can take a picture and be in the LVT business. It’s the same thing we had in laminate. So we basically had an industry where people were not spending any dollars to make better. And we knew that eventually, particularly as we got into multi colors, that we were going to be a lot better off with pre-dyed yarns, and I’ll use Pet Protect as an example. Invista said the important part of it was to be solution dyed. So their Pet Protect, their top brand, was solution dyed. They recognized the fact that you made a better product with a solution-dyed yarn.

Tell me about the name Engineered Floors.
That’s what we are. We’re engineering products on a regular basis. It just seems every time we talk about putting a product out we were going to engineer a system that would fit.

Immediate goals and objectives when you launched?
If you really get down to it, and I go way back to my original days with Shaw, we used to say you put a block together and you get up on the block and see a little more of the horizon. Then you put another block together and you see a little more of the horizon. We think that’s what we were doing in terms of what percentage of the business made sense for a small manufacturer to be in. But once we were making the moves, we were being accepted because we were giving products that were different. So we saw more of the horizon. Did I say in 2010 we wanted to be a major player in the carpet business? I think I would have been foolish to make that statement. I was 77 years old.

What about the decision to start only with PET?
We started with something we considered the growth end of the carpet industry. At the time we went in polyester, it was probably 175 million pounds. Today it’s a billion-pound marketplace in residential carpet. It seemed polypropylene was losing its position, and nylon was spending probably more time in the commercial end of the business.

But you eventually expanded into nylon.
Yeah, we’re in nylon a little bit. I think there are certain sections of the country and the builder business with more or less FHA design. Nylon has some advantages; if you want to talk about wear you can probably can get a little better wear there.

Everything we did up to a point was solution-dyed nylon. Nylon also needed the multi colors and the consistency of pre-dyed yarn I think.

The next evolution was into commercial?
If you look at what was growing in the commercial end of the business, we knew years and years ago that piece dyed could not be in commercial carpet. So, we went to pre-dyed, solution-dyed yarns in broadloom. But we also knew the ability to install carpet was the biggest problem in the contract end of the business and it became obvious that carpet tile was going to be the growth area of the industry. And we’ve been changing tiles and backings on tile, and we tried new backings on tiles that we’ve paid a lot of claims on. Well, a lot of this was being looked at by several manufacturers. What’s the best backing? What’s the most consistent backing? We went through two or three different backings and decided on a particular one that we just built the plant for.

But again, you have to look at the old carpet mills. Our buildings were on 20 acres. We thought 20 acres was a great big piece of property and when we built a 200,000-square-foot building on 20 acres we thought it was a big operation. Well, one of our plants right now is a 2.5 million-square-foot building.

But all in all, we had a yarn mill here, we had a tufting mill here and a dye house here. Distribution here. And you were constantly moving units around. We said, what if you can move all within one building where it comes in and goes out as carpet. There were a lot of savings and it also said you had just one person in charge of the quality.

You purchased J&J. What did they bring to the table?
J&J probably has been in business for 60 years. They have a good reputation of quality products. They had a joint venture in a tile plant. We’d known the Jollys and the Joneses for 60 years. They probably needed more product to compete rather than just be in the top end of the business. They needed a bigger market.

But to answer the question, “Why J&J?” J&J was a family business and was going into its third generation. And they probably knew they would not necessarily survive at the size they were. This was not too different from when [Shaw] bought Queen. Julian [Saul] had to make up his mind whether he was going to be a major part of the business. He was not a public company at the time. And you know the reason all of us went public back in those days was to raise capital. Today I think it’s a disadvantage to be a public company.

You don’t need to go public today to raise capital for growth?
Quite frankly, if you have credit and can borrow money, you can do it today for almost nothing. Now, when in the history of business have you been able to borrow money at less than 2%? It’s a lot different than if you’re borrowing money at 10%. Now, if you don’t have credit then you can’t borrow at any price. The opportunity was there for those who were able to either finance it personally or have a reasonable credit line. Money was cheap, money remains cheap—cheap meaning under 6%—and it will probably be cheap for another two or four years.

Now, and we all know this, there was no reason at all for the housing bubble to have been as big. We went all the way from 2.3 billion houses a year down to 600 million houses and now we’re at about 1.2 or 1.3 billion today. Our population is considerably larger. But also, what happened to the carpet business was multi-family turning over every five and a half years this last year. Five years ago, six years ago it was turning over every three years. Why? Because the family would form and have a house. So that bubble stopped a lot of carpet being sold.

You launched Pentz as your Main Street brand.
Pentz started as a division of the company that will be out of the specifying end of the business. There’s just a world of people selling carpet in the contract end of the business that is not specified. So Pentz is our Main Street brand and is doing OK.

The Beaulieu purchase.
We didn’t buy Beaulieu. We bought the assets of Beaulieu. It’s a world of difference.

How does that make Engineered Floors a better company? By taking them out of the market?
They took themselves out of the market; I didn’t take them out of the market. I would say they had some equipment that we considered modern, and we bought it based on what we considered the replacement value of the modern equipment to be. We emphasize we bought assets.

Some people say the backing plant was attractive.
Well, they had a backing plant that goes all the way back. We were not making our own primary or secondary backing, so that was attractive. Beaulieu also had a distribution center that was underutilized, so that was attractive. Their product line was not all that bad. They had some technology that had patents on them that we may capitalize on at a later date. And again, if yarn is going to be our bottleneck… Let me explain that. Remember all the staple markets are more or less gone. And they’re not coming back. We have yarn mills that will dictate how much carpet we can make. So they had a yarn mill that really came from a fire, but they had modern equipment and an extrusion mill that made sense.

I’m not sure they didn’t over-expand at the wrong time. Cheap money is wonderful, but the principal still has to be paid, and banks are not good partners. You probably need to be in a position to tell your banker to go to hell. The bank is your best friend as long as you’re their best customer.

Does the Beaulieu name mean anything to you or the industry?
We won’t keep it. I don’t think it’s any brand name. The market is a funny thing. You don’t have consumers saying, “I buy Mohawk because it’s Mohawk.” Like we used to talk about Armstrong; Armstrong had a brand name. Stainmaster had a brand name. I think brand names come from reputations now rather than from advertising. The consumer eventually makes up her mind.

What differentiates Engineered Floors from the other mills out there? What does this company do better for the customer?
The customer eventually decides who makes the best product. You know, the real dog food is what the dogs are eating. That’s the finest dog food you can have. Now, if you’re making a product the consumer is buying, that means you are going in partnership with your [retailer] customer, and only if he can make money can you make money from selling him that product. So the customer became very important.

We were seeing the big boxes—the Home Depots and the Lowes and all of those—basically going out of inventory of carpet. The Home Depots and Lowes don’t buy rolls of carpet; they buy pieces of carpet. They are a massive distributor of pieces of carpet. They don’t put the money in inventory. So it took a different type of mill. You can’t go in and say I’m going to sell a thousand rolls and I have the cheapest price. We have a little of that still—some people that stock carpet. But most people right now, with the multiple choices they have, want to know they can get a piece of carpet on time, cut order, that’s high quality. So your reputation goes a long way. Now I have to admit that Shaw was considered the best manufacturer in the business, and they still have a very high reputation in manufacturing.

I have a piece of carpet in my hand from Shaw and one from Engineered Floors. Is yours just as good?
Better. It’s better because we are solution dyeing ours. They still are piece dyeing 80% of theirs. So it was a step change in the way we’re manufacturing.

Anything else in the process that makes a piece of carpet from Engineered Floors better?
The difference is in how you go about styling a piece of carpet. Ten years ago, seven years ago, 80%-90% of your better carpets would probably be a solid color. Now your better carpets have some type of subtle tones to them. So 80% of the carpet we make right now is not solid color.

You’re still focusing on selling the neutrals. I don’t see blues or reds all over the place.
The reds and blues never did sell, except if you moved up the Eastern coast a little bit. It was a great ploy of DuPont—let’s make 50 colors of Stainmaster and we could have as much as 5% of our total dollars in samples—and the way we would change the color standards over short and long periods of time. Then we finally understood grays and tones of grays were 90% of the carpet being sold, and the accent colors we were cutting up as rugs after we made the first roll.

So you make what sells?
The answer is if they started demanding gold we’ll make gold. But are we going to try to convince them that gold will be the color of the year? No.

How has the consumer changed in the last 30 years?
I think back then a lot of the carpet we were making was for starter homes and then the upgrades. I think more permanency in homes means they’re buying better carpets. They’re not buying the FHAs. We’re selling better pieces of goods, and then you have the patterns.

So that’s how you respond? Better goods, patterns?
If we take a product out and the product doesn’t sell, we better change the product or change the consumer. I don’t think we’ve changed that much. What’s changed is everything we talk about is LVT, and what’s the first thing you do with LVT? Put a rug over it. We put carpet over our vinyl, not vinyl over our carpet. The rug business has gotten to be an important business.

Is there anything you learned in your past life, your time at Shaw, that makes Engineered Floors a better company?
I started Shaw in 1959, so if I haven’t learned something in 70 years… The biggest thing I think that’s an advantage is you either have a good or bad reputation as a businessman, and honesty plays a big part of that. And if you treat people right then they normally treat you right.

Are you the least bit surprised at how fast this company has grown?
Probably a little bit, but we knew 20 years ago there was a better way to make a tufted piece of carpet. Back then we were more or less being dictated to. “We’re going to sell you a white yarn and you’re going to color that white yarn in the best way.” So you had to have the ability to make your own yarn before you could make the step change in how you were making carpet.

Are you still having fun?
Sure!

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Engineered Floors poised to purchase Beaulieu Group

October 9/16, 2017: Volume 32, Issue 9

By Ken Ryan

 

Screen Shot 2017-10-17 at 9.27.53 AMDalton–Engineered Floors’ agreement to purchase substantially all operating assets of Beaulieu Group—a deal pending bankruptcy court approval—would make EF a dominant No. 3 player in the carpet segment, a billion-dollar player overall, trailing only industry titans Shaw and Mohawk.

If approved, which is expected, the deal could be consummated in November.

Back on Sept. 20, Engineered Floors and Beaulieu Group had agreed to terms in a letter of intent. (Beaulieu Canada, which is not a subsidiary of Beaulieu Group, is not part of this deal.) The companies have now concluded those negotiations and executed a definitive agreement.

Engineered Floors did not divulge many details of what its plans are post-acquisition, other than to say it intends to operate the assets going forward and continue to grow the residential and commercial businesses. “This will be good for both our business and the community,” said Bob Shaw, chairman and CEO, Engineered Floors.

When asked specifically if Engineered Floors would retain the Beaulieu brand, or whether it would bring back the Coronet name—as has been speculated—a company spokesman said there would be no comment beyond the initial press release.

Fast-track growth
Since Bob Shaw founded Engineered Floors in 2009, the company has quickly grown. Its 2016 sales were $659 million and it has a strong position in the multi-family builder market; it serves the residential sector through distribution under the Dream Weaver brand. In April 2016, Engineered Floors acquired J+J Flooring Group, a commercial carpet specialist with sales of approximately $140 million. Last summer the company launched its Pentz Main Street division.

Screen Shot 2017-10-17 at 9.28.02 AMSince its purchase J+J Flooring has operated as an independent division under Engineered Floors. There is speculation that Beaulieu could also be operated as its own entity under the Engineered Floors flag. James Lesslie, executive vice president of sales and marketing, came over from Beaulieu in 2009 when the company was started; he was chief operating officer at Beaulieu when he left. Beaulieu’s annual sales are estimated to be approximately $350 million. Combined with Engineered Floors, the entity would exceed $1 billion in 2016 sales.

Since founding Engineered Floors, Shaw has created thousands of jobs in Whitfield County. Today the company employs 3,000, with more to be added as manufacturing facilities come online. One well-placed industry executive said Bob Shaw contacted Beaulieu to obtain a list of all the Beaulieu employees who had been laid off in the past six months. Engineered Floors did not comment on a question regarding Beaulieu employees.

Beaulieu filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on July 17. At the time, the company believed the process of reorganization would position it for future success. “Beaulieu family members and our board of managers believe pursuing a restructuring through Chapter 11 is the best path forward at this time,” Michael Pollard, president of Beaulieu Group, said at the time. “We have evaluated alternatives to address Beaulieu’s capital structure, and we believe restructuring through the Chapter 11 process will best position all of Beaulieu Group LLC’s businesses for future success.”

Founded in 1978, Beaulieu America, which until recently was the No. 3 carpet mill, employs upwards of 2,500 associates in more than 12 facilities and offices across North America. In addition to the Beaulieu brand, the company manufactures medium-priced commercial carpet under the Cambridge label, high-end specified carpet under the Bolyü label, and needlepunch floor covering products sold through Murray Fabrics and the company’s surfaces divisions.

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Engineered Floors enters into asset purchase agreement for Beaulieu

engineeredfloors

Dalton–Engineered Floors LLC has entered into an agreement with Beaulieu Group LLC to purchase substantially all of the operating assets of Beaulieu.

The companies had previously announced they had agreed to terms in a letter of intent. They have now concluded those negotiations and executed a definitive agreement.

Beaulieu, which is operating under Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, will seek court approval of this transaction, which is now expected to close in early November. Engineered Floors plans to operate the assets going forward and continue to grow the residential and commercial businesses.

“This will be good for both our business and the community,” said Bob Shaw, chairman and CEO, Engineered Floors.

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Engineered Floors reaches a letter of intent to purchase Beaulieu assets

engineeredfloorsDalton, Ga.– Engineered Floors has reached a letter of intent agreement in principle to purchase substantially all of the operating assets of Beaulieu Group. The transaction will be contingent upon approvals through the bankruptcy court and due diligence processes. Pending governmental approvals, the transaction is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2017.

Note: Beaulieu Canada is not a subsidiary of Beaulieu Group and is not affected nor part of the letter of intent agreement.

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Carpet: State of the industry—Higher-end goods boost residential end of the market

August 28/September 4: Volume 32, Issue 6

By Ken Ryan

 

Screen Shot 2017-09-05 at 11.43.04 AMAfter a slow start to 2017, the residential carpet category gained some traction in the second quarter, resulting in a 2% rise in sales over the year-ago period, with units up 0.5% overall in the first half. Executives cited sales of better goods, an uptick in consumer confidence and price increases that have firmed up the marketplace.

The U.S. carpet category continues its ever-so-slight recovery from the Great Recession, its growth held in check by hard surfaces. “We have seen patterns, loops and differentiated product at the upper end doing disproportionately well and outperforming the medium end of the market,” said Tom Lape, president of Mohawk Residential.

T.M. Nuckols, executive vice president of residential business for the Dixie Group, which oversees the Dixie Home, Masland and Fabrica brands, agreed that better goods at the higher end of the spectrum and well-styled products are seeing the greatest activity in the residential market these days. If the products offer soil and pet stain protection—as many of them do—it’s a plus.

The 2% growth in residential carpet is a welcome sign for a category that has shown little to no growth in the last three years. In 2016, for example, FCNews’ research showed carpet sales down 1% to $8.7813 billion while total volume—which includes carpet and area rugs—gained 1.2% to 11.22 billion square feet.

There are some positive signs in housing that should favor a boost in carpet sales going forward. Between July 2016 and July 2017, U.S. home values increased 6.8%, according to Zillow, the online real estate database interest. That number is expected to rise another 2.7% within the next year, the company said. This uptick in home prices has helped boost consumer confidence among homeowners, which has increased two months in a row. As a consequence, the residential replacement market has experienced growth as spending on remodeling projects has moved higher. While most of that spending has been for hard surfaces, soft goods have not been shut out entirely.

However, rising home prices are a double-edge sword because it prevents many would-be buyers, especially older millennials, from entering the market. The flip side is that has resulted in a more robust multi-family segment. The multi-family production index (MPI), which provides a composite measure of three key elements of that market—construction of low-rent units, market-rate rental units and “for-sale” units, or condominiums—jumped 8 points to 56 in the second quarter as all three components increased.

“Improved units can be attributed to a fairly good builder market in both multi-family and single family as well as the return of home equities in the retail remodel sector,” said Brad Christensen, vice president, soft surface portfolio management, Shaw Floors.

Screen Shot 2017-09-05 at 11.43.21 AMThe Main Street segment of the business continues to perform reasonably well, with carpet tile continuing to grow in both small, local businesses and specified commercial. Broadloom, however, continues to lose share in both sectors.

Market research has shown consumers desire the warmth and comfort of carpet in their homes. To meet that need manufacturers are focusing on the look and feel of carpet more so than fiber type. As Christensen explains: “Consumers want a stylish, high-performing carpet that complements their uniquely curated living spaces and demand both design and function in a variety of price points.”

Rodney Mauter, executive vice president of residential marketing for Lexmark, sees value and fashion, especially, as the primary inspiration for consumers. “She wants her bedrooms and family rooms to be just as much of a statement as the rest of her home. As carpet manufacturers we must continue to exceed performance standards while offering more color and fashion choices.”

The dwindling middle
Carpet continues to play well in certain regions, in particular the upper Midwest and Northeast, observers say. Meanwhile, both the low and upper ends of the market are showing fairly brisk activity. Engineered Floors, the No. 3 carpet company, is flourishing in the lower-end polyester market, which continues to be strong. The upper end, which counts Dixie, Shaw (Tuftex) and Mohawk (Karastan), continues to shine. However, the mid-range market—$8 to $13—is struggling. “Rather than building products that fit your assets, build products that fit your customers’ needs,” Lape explained. “We have to figure out a way to create compelling products for our retailers even if it is hard.”

Innovative offerings
Screen Shot 2017-09-05 at 11.43.26 AMMohawk’s SmartStrand is an example of a compelling product that has enjoyed tremendous reception at the retail level, with new iterations like SmartStrand Reserve giving dealers more profit potential. “SmartStrand Reserve has hit the market with very solid acceptance across our dealer base,” Lape said. “Our prior research told us consumers loved luxurious soft performance carpet, and since our launch earlier in 2017 our research has now been proven true with the introduction of SmartStrand Reserve.”

Several advancements in technology have driven today’s exceptional quality, performance and styling looks. Improved yarn systems offer softer hand along with a range of visual aesthetics coupled with enhanced performance and durability. According to Susan Curtis, senior vice president, product development for Phenix, developments in tufting technology continue to open new ways to design creative carpets. She said additional attributes are being engineered into carpet products that enhance the consumer’s use and experience with the product.

Mark Clayton, president of Phenix, said innovations in tufting technology have provided opportunities for manufacturers to create more compelling textures and color palettes for the consumer.

Technology’s contribution to carpet has kept it as a viable flooring solution especially in the areas of improved stain, soil, wear and fade resistance—in addition to affordable pricing. That’s according to James Lesslie, executive vice president at Engineered Floors, whose company introduced an advanced polyester extrusion process fiber system called Apex SD.

Screen Shot 2017-09-05 at 11.43.32 AMAt Shaw Floors, its LifeGuard waterproof backing system is now offered as a trade-up option for dealers. In 2017 Shaw added LifeGuard to its Anso Color Wall in a Titanium collection with 150 new SKUs. “We’re listening to consumers more than we ever have before and adapting our strategies to meet their needs,” Christensen said. “Making LifeGuard an optional upgrade on more styles is just one example of this new approach.”

Products that offer stain and soil protection continue to resonate with consumers, the majority of whom own pets, studies show. To that end, the Dixie Group introduced a significant number of new products under the Stainmaster PetProtect brand, including many new carpet styles under its Dixie Home and Masland lines.

Phenix’s Cleaner Home carpet, meanwhile, features built-in Microban antimicrobial technology to protect against the growth of stain- and odor-causing bacteria and mold. Recognizing consumers’ growing desire for a cleaner home without cleaning more, Phenix combined these three unique components—a new fiber with two proactive technologies—to create this new carpet collection.

In terms of innovation and initiatives perhaps no one has been as busy as Engineered Floors. “Our top innovations are hard to pinpoint because 2017 has been so busy for us,” Lesslie explained. “So far this year, we’ve launched a totally new website, expanded our social media, broken ground and are in the process of completing a new modular carpet manufacturing facility, added several new Main Street commercial products through our Pentz brand and introduced Apex SD. And we’ve got four more months to go.”

 

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Power of brands: Quality products, service stand out in a crowd

August 14/21: Volume 32, Issue 5

By Lindsay Baillie

Screen Shot 2017-08-22 at 3.51.42 PMA well-known brand has great influence in the mind of the consumer; it can affect her positively or negatively, research shows. According to Latham & Co., a brand consultancy, a strong brand contains incredible power—not just how it is perceived in the world, but also how it redefines the competitive landscape, connects with prospects and influencers, creates memorable experiences, builds lasting relationships and helps leaders better manage people, resources and profits.

For many flooring dealers, brands matter, especially when products and services are backed by the companies they represent. “A strong brand brings awareness of mind,” said Kevin Rose, president and owner, Carpetland Color Tile, Rockford, Ill. “This is good for all flooring retailers as we battle for the consumer’s disposable income.”

A strong brand can also draw attention to a particular flooring store. As Mary Ann Gore, office manager, Bridgeport Carpets, Alpharetta, Ga., explains: “For example, if a customer is new to an area and does an Internet search on local retailers, she is typically going to look for a product that is familiar to her.”

While name recognition holds a certain importance for flooring brands, dealers can also benefit from established name recognition. Case in point is Ted’s Abbey Carpet & Floor, with multiple locations in Alabama. “We have really tried to market our store’s names to the consumers in our market area,” said Ted Gregerson, president and owner, “We feel like we have done a really good job of it, because consumers in our market refer to us as simply ‘Abbey.’ We feel if our consumers trust us and our own Abbey brand, then they will have confidence in all the products we sell.”

The strength inside the original COREtec floors
Screen Shot 2017-08-22 at 3.39.29 PMUSFloors is regarded as the originator of the WPC category—true disruptors and innovators in the industry. It is committed to providing beautiful and durable floors at an excellent value while minimizing the impact on the environment whenever possible. The COREtec brand is focused on providing an exceptional customer experience throughout the new flooring purchase.

USFloors knows today’s consumers value authenticity over perfection—from brands, experiences and daily life. They seek to engage with brands that mirror that authenticity—brands that stand up for what they believe and deliver upon it. Expectations of a brand’s intuitive nature drive their interest. When it comes to purchasing a new floor, they want to make a smart, practical choice—one that reflects their originality and can be enjoyed for years to come. USFloors addresses these consumer needs in a way that satisfies and delights them from initial inspiration to final installation. COREtec is perfect for expressing the originality and creativity that lives within them. USFloors provides an ever-evolving portfolio of waterproof floors that embody style and strength that can withstand whatever real life has in store for the consumer.

In addition to authenticity, consumers share a common driving need for simplicity in this era of ever-expanding choices. The number of flooring options has expanded dramatically, leaving today’s consumers feeling overwhelmed and under extreme pressure to make the right purchase decisions. With the average floor shopping process lasting more than five months, consumers will reward easy, simple and trustworthy brands. They seek out brands that receive high accolades on style and performance and are recommended by peers with real world experiences.

The entrepreneurial passion that lives within the core of USFloors drives the company to redefine the way consumers discover COREtec floors. Consumers are drawn to attributes that inspire them and shopping experiences that match the high standards they set for the products themselves. Today’s consumer can identify an original, and USFloors believes they applaud an approachable brand that is smart, modern and bold. They can feel the commitment of style and performance and appreciate the result of the American dream. They recognize products that are unique and sustainable and want to be loyal to the brands that deliver on a promise. As the original COREtec floors, USFloors is rewarded by their sense of style and practical purchases.

USFloors is thrilled to be at the helm of this young industry brand. The company sets no boundaries and has an endless future of solutions ahead. COREtec will erupt into 2018 with vigor to share its successful innovations and leadership with consumers nationwide. Throughout it all, USFloors will continue to create value and a healthy platform for growth for its retail partners.

USFloors and COREtec—authentic to the core.

 

The power in the family of brands
Screen Shot 2017-08-22 at 3.39.39 PMMohawk enjoys global brand recognition as the world’s largest flooring manufacturer. With facilities and manufacturing operations across the nation, Mohawk is committed to American-made manufacturing and the communities and families it impacts on a daily basis. From product conception to the manufacturing process to the transportation of products, Mohawk employees are providing the foundations for homes and businesses around the world.
The power of brand and its attributes is vastly important for infrequent purchase categories such as flooring. Strong branding gives consumers peace of mind, allowing them to feel confident about their investment. Retailers–both large and small–leverage the power of the Mohawk brand around the world each and every day.

Mohawk and its family of brands are among the most well known in the flooring industry. These include: Aladdin, American Olean, American Rug Craftsmen, Century, Columbia, Daltile, Durkan, IVC, Karastan, Marazzi, Moduleo, Mohawk Group, Mohawk Home, Pergo, Q-Wood, Quick-Step, Ragno and SolidTech. The company’s vertically integrated manufacturing and distribution processes provide competitive advantages in the production of carpet, carpet tile, rugs, ceramic tile, laminate, hardwood, stone and luxury vinyl flooring. The enterprise-wide innovations yield products and technologies that are differentiated in the marketplace.

The organization invests heavily in the Mohawk brand by way of lead generation, advertising, digital marketing, public relations, merchandising, point-of-sale, innovative products and national promotions, just to name a few. These efforts result in high consumer recognition and increased profit margins for Mohawk’s retailers.

The primary reason Mohawk invests in its family of brands is to deliver qualified consumer leads to its valued retail partners. The current pace of change in the flooring industry requires new programs that give its retailers the inside track to stay ahead of the competition.

 

A brand built on service, innovation and progress
Screen Shot 2017-08-22 at 3.39.44 PMHonesty, integrity and passion set the stage 50 years ago and have served as the foundation from which Shaw Floors was established. Since that time, the company’s values remain true while Shaw Floors has transformed from a single category producer to a leading, total flooring brand with a forward-focused dedication to servicing our customers and the end-user consumer. Shaw is proud of its heritage and grateful for the confidence retailers have demonstrated over the years.

The celebration of Shaw’s 50th anniversary this year is marked by its corporate vision of creating a better future: for its customers, its people and the communities it serves. As Shaw reflects on the important milestones of its past, it is reminded that progress isn’t achieved by resting on previous successes, but by looking to the future and empowering its associates to lead the company into a new era of innovation.

One thing that remains constant is the Shaw Floors brand is synonymous with flooring expertise. The company prides itself on being pioneers of design and innovation and won’t settle for anything less than exceptional service. All of these elements are trademarks of the Shaw brand, reinforced each year through the many surveys and rankings voted on by its valued retail partners. Shaw Floors feels honored that the breadth of its product portfolio earns the company the unique ability to provide consumers with flooring that makes sense for their space. Through our products and services, the consumer’s design vision comes to life.

Shaw Floors has demonstrated continuous leadership not only through its company values but also through cutting-edge innovations such as: its patent-pending Floorté PRO collection, offering the industry’s first direct-glue rigid core products; its completely redesigned EPIC Plus engineered hardwood line featuring the Extreme Nature collection, which boasts the longest, widest hardwood planks made in the USA; its revolutionary LifeGuard waterproof carpet backing technology protecting against life’s mishaps to give consumers the cleanest carpet for healthy living; and its exclusive sound-abatement research and proprietary intelligence depicting a comprehensive landscape of today’s consumer. These products and services, plus many others, provide retailers with solutions that ultimately give consumers confidence in their investment. Shaw Floors will continue heavily investing in its shared industry in an effort to drive market understanding, demand and brand preference, and it appreciate the partnership with retailers.

 

A name synonymous with unique style, fashion and design
Screen Shot 2017-08-22 at 3.39.51 PMDealers and distributors who carry the Provenza brand attest to its association with high style and design. After all, according to Ron Sadri, president, it was Provenza who helped usher in the handscraped trend about 20 years ago. The company said it was also responsible for innovations such as custom-infused colors, oil finishes and other creative surface treatments such as reactive staining—a technique that’s common across the industry today.

“Our focus on setting the trend for fashion and design in hardwood flooring makes us truly unique,” Sadri said. “Our distributors and retail partners see us as the leader in our market while others are followers.”

That industry recognition was demonstrated at Surfaces 2017 earlier this year, when Provenza walked away with a Best of Show award in the category of style and design for its Colour Nation Lighthouse Cove collection, a line of wide-plank flooring featuring multiple stains, colors and surface treatments. “It was a confirmation from the judges and the dealers that our products stand out from everyone else,” Sadri said. “People really understand Provenza and they appreciate the creativity we put behind every line we produce.”

But for Provenza, high style and design doesn’t necessarily have to translate into products that exceed the reach of mainstream consumers. “We always try to make products that are affordable to the consumer,” Sadri said. “That makes it easier for dealers to go to our products and pick everything from good quality and moderate pricing all the way up to a designer look.”

 

A leader in private labeling
Screen Shot 2017-08-22 at 3.39.56 PMBBOSS is a true industry leader when it comes to the specialty of private labeling. Established in 2008, this fast-growing company is intent on raising the bar for private label and providing its clients with new ways to sustain long-term growth in today’s highly competitive wood flooring market.

The BBOSS approach begins with a factory direct relationship and eliminating unnecessary costs. Dealing direct with the manufacturer and U.S. supporting offices gives clients peace of mind that they have both local and international support.

BBOSS attributes its tremendous success to providing clients with a unique partnership, which helps them drive business while reducing their costs. Additionally, BBOSS offers a full breadth of products, from entry level to multiple upgraded visuals, all from one mill, with the flexibility to mix on any order as needed.

With one of the most knowledgeable and experienced teams in the industry, BBOSS stays on top of ever-changing market trends related to engineered and solid hardwood flooring. The team partners with each private label client, guiding them through the process of developing and growing their own brand and designs products that meet consumer trends and are tailored to their specific market. BBOSS provides a high level of customer service, thanks in part to the company’s award-winning education and training programs.

But perhaps the best advantage of all is BBOSS offers differentiation in all facets of private label, which is a unique way for a retailer’s brand to stand out in an otherwise crowded market.

To learn more about private labeling, contact BBOSS at bbossinc.com or call 855-442-2677.

 

Better together
Screen Shot 2017-08-22 at 3.40.01 PMFor more than 130 years, Tarkett has been at the foundation of creating more beautiful spaces and unlocking the infinite possibilities that happen when people come together.

Tarkett is creating together, honoring its values of collaboration to create something worth more than the sum of its parts. The company is building brands together by uniting its family of brands—Tandus Centiva, Johnsonite and Desso—to ensure they are designed to work together.

Tarkett is designing together, working with designers inside and outside the industry to challenge the way floor coverings can be used.
It is also working together to deliver products and ideas that anticipate where the workplace is headed.

Tarkett is inspiring together, pushing the boundaries of design and using its flooring in bold new ways. More importantly, Tarkett is doing good together, leading sustainable business practices and prioritizing the health of people and the planet.

At Tarkett, together is simply better.

 

Providing quality, service and coordinating products for every hardwood floor
Screen Shot 2017-08-22 at 3.40.06 PMPennwood continuously pursues high standards in manufacturing and marketing of flooring transitions, stair products and vents. The Pennwood staff studies and researches trends in design, color and finish.

The company currently matches 6,000 different hardwood floors, ranging in color, style and textures with standard boards all held in the Pennwood Color Library. Pennwood employees take pride in their craftsmanship and as long as the company has the color standard, it can custom produce a retailer’s stair treads or flooring transition with a normal turnaround time of two to three weeks.

Pennwood believes in partnering and can customize a program for a retailer’s specific needs. The company can produce various fixed lengths in moldings and stair treads. It also offers random length flooring transitions up to 12 feet, which is increasingly popular in the builder and multi-family market segments.

Today the Pennwood brand means uncompromising value, known for innovation and a driving force within the industry. Pennwood is synonymous with a “we can do” attitude.

 

A brand is best built in person
Screen Shot 2017-08-22 at 3.40.10 PMA brand is a company’s biggest asset, according to Thomas Trissl, principal, HPS Schönox. Furthermore, cultivating relationships is a crucial part of building a company’s brand.

“All the advertising and marketing we do is important, but nothing replaces the value of face-to-face conversations like those we have on a daily basis on the jobsite with installers, in an office with architects/designers or in the warehouse with our distributors,” Trissl explained. “A brand mirrors the expectation of prospective customers and the experience of existing customers.”

Schönox, HPS North America has developed a promotional strategy of combining multimedia, product education and exceptional customer support while maintaining communication to strengthen existing relationships and establish new ones.

With these relationships, the Schönox brand can grow and build a legacy that presents key qualities in the market.

Exceptional quality, service and knowledge
Screen Shot 2017-08-22 at 3.44.13 PMThe two factors that consistently and unequivocally set a brand apart from others in its category are quality and service, and Bamboo Hardwoods does just that.

From the company’s humble beginnings growing bamboo and innovating products from its own groves to becoming an industry powerhouse, Bamboo Hardwoods’ foundation of bamboo knowledge has always given it a competitive edge. Every product made is done so with meticulous quality and care using premium adhesives, finishes and modern technologies, while taking time to produce the perfect product. In addition, Bamboo Hardwoods has revolutionized bamboo flooring by focusing on what consumers demand most: trendsetting style and design. The emphasis on aesthetics elevated bamboo flooring from a niche product to being regarded as another attractive choice in the hardwood flooring category.

When it comes to customer service, Bamboo Hardwoods transcends the business-client relationship by focusing on establishing rapport and sincere connections with its customers. With multiple warehouse locations across the United States and fully stocked East and West coast warehouses, customers can rest assured knowing they will promptly receive the product desired.

Bamboo Hardwoods is dedicated to continuing its reigning status as a pioneer of the specialty flooring industry.

 

A brand with a vision
Screen Shot 2017-08-22 at 3.44.20 PMThe Novalis Innovative Flooring brand was started in 1984 and began actual production of product in 1986–the first luxury vinyl flooring facility built by anyone in China.

Since that time, Novalis has accomplished a record of other “firsts”: Novalis was the first Chinese LVT manufacturer to achieve ISO 9001 certification. Novalis was the first with an ISO 14001 environmental certificate. And Novalis is the first and only Chinese LVT brand certified with OHSAS 18001. Novalis was very happy to be the first Chinese LVT manufacturer with a fully localized Environmental Product Declaration, Health Product Declaration and Declare labeling, all being introduced in 2015.

On this foundation of sustainable, quality design and engineering accomplishments, Novalis launched its NovaFloor brand in North America over five years ago. NovaFloor is made primarily for the American floor covering retail channel, and is sold through distributors and their dealers for the residential and Main Street commercial markets.

At NeoCon East 2015, Novalis officially unveiled its new commercial LVT brand for North America called “AVA.” AVA stands for Advanced Vinyl Artistry and is made for the commercial specified market. Capri Cork manages the AVA brand in the U.S. and Canada through its extensive list of dedicated commercial agents.

Always guiding the brand’s development is its “vision” that encompasses three key principles: art, quality and nature.

When it comes to LVT, Novalis views “art” as the authentic reproductions of natural elements to create imaginative, inspiring spaces.

Novalis “quality” means an investment in the research and performance to make the best LVT possible.

And the Novalis vision for “nature” is all about producing its product responsibly while conserving energy and resources.

Learn more at novalisinnovativeflooring.com.

 

Innovative brand spread its wings
Screen Shot 2017-08-22 at 3.45.39 PMEngineered Floors, the third-largest carpet company in the world, has continued its singular mission to be the flooring brand of choice. This year Engineered Floors revamped its digital presence with a new website to align its family of brands under a common theme: “We have one mission. Make the best carpet in the world.” The new site (engineeredfloors.com) showcases Engineered Floors’ complete family of brands and its drive to “intersect” with customers’ desires for style, durability, comfort, quality and tradition. It combines new room scene photography, links to the company’s varied social media platforms and advanced functionality to make it easier and more engaging to use.

The company’s new website, along with the new signature for its advertising, reinforces the strength of Engineered Floors in its collection of brands, each aimed at a specific flooring segment. The Engineered Floors family of brands consists of: Dream Weaver for residential replacement; Pentz Commercial Flooring Solutions for Main Street; DWellings for new home construction; and Engineered Floors Multifamily.

The company is also bringing to market new innovations including a commercial polyester fiber, advanced polyester extrusion (Apex SDP) under the Pentz Commercial Solutions brand. The offering includes the styles Revival and Revolution, which join the widely successful original Apex SDP styles Quicksilver and Fast Break.

In addition, Engineered Floors is rapidly completing a new, state-of-the-art carpet tile manufacturing facility in Dalton. The move is in response to the growing demand for modular carpet tile for Main Street applications.

The initial phase of the plant, expected to open in January 2018, will total 520,000 square feet. This will be the fourth new facility the company has built in northwest Georgia since 2009.

 

The power of a strong brand partnership
Screen Shot 2017-08-22 at 3.45.43 PMWith more than 65 years of proven innovation, market leadership and dedication to quality, Scotchgard has the protective products and brand strength to help make our partners successful. A brand partnership with Scotchgard Protector strengthens the value of the host brand and creates opportunities that can:

•Increase edge over competition
•Build brand equity in new markets
•Increase sales
•Grow market penetration
•Expand credibility to both brands

The Scotchgard brand name has been synonymous with protection for multiple generations. Invented in the 1950s and protecting floors from their owners since the 1970s, Scotchgard Protector has become one of the leading brands of stain, spill and soil protection in markets around the world.

When companies have a history of selling products that are dependable, reliable and in line with consumer needs, consumers begin to develop trust in the product and loyalty to the brand. The real power in the Scotchgard Brand is that it represents that one last thing consumers want when they purchase a product—peace of mind. It can close the sale.

 

Where innovation is a way of life
Screen Shot 2017-08-22 at 3.45.48 PMPhenix Flooring is more than just another manufacturer—it’s a flooring experience. From designing and developing premium products to its commitment to advancing research, development and production through the latest state-of-the-art technologies, Phenix makes innovation a way of life. Through this commitment, Phenix continues to grow and serve its customers with passion, values and an unwavering dedication to the production of quality products.

With the launch of the Cleaner Home collection, Phenix delivers on this mantra by offering a line rich in color and design with proactive technologies such as Microban, Opulance HD and Surefresh that provide optimal antimicrobial protection, stain resistance and prolonged beauty at an affordable price.

Above all, Phenix strives to deliver the highest standard of service to its clients. As a Pharr Family company, Phenix is backed by generations of manufacturing genius, flanked by supportive brands.

 

Powered by quality and service for more than 30 years
Screen Shot 2017-08-22 at 3.45.57 PMOffering superior quality products has always been Mirage’s No. 1 priority. Maintaining this quality consistency is the daily challenge and a goal that each employee strives to attain. This commitment to excellence speaks to the dedication, devotion and knowledge of Mirage’s people—from the worker in the plant to the sales representatives in the field.

That quality extends to the service it provides. For more than 30 years the staff at Mirage has pursued a common goal: To go above and beyond customer expectations and adapt to her needs. This is what Mirage’s legacy is built on.

The numerous quality awards Mirage has received in the last decade—more than 30—is a testament to the company’s unwavering efforts. Indeed, quality has powered the Mirage brand for more than 30 years and will continue to for another 30 years. This success does not mean Mirage can rest on its laurels; quality is a journey, not a destination.

 

Steeped in tradition
Screen Shot 2017-08-22 at 3.46.02 PMFor over 60 years, DriTac Flooring Products has manufactured premium-grade adhesives and installation solutions for the wood and resilient floor covering markets.

DriTac was established in 1956, offering one product—DriTac 6200—that continues to stand the test of time several decades later. Since then, DriTac, via its state-of-the-art laboratory and research facility in the U.S., has expanded its product line and is currently one of a few adhesive manufacturers to offer all the major technologies: urethane, MS polymer, pressure sensitive, acrylic and more. DriTac has become a leader in developing wood flooring adhesives that offer sound and moisture control with a single-component, one-step application.

A trailblazer in cultivating environmentally friendly flooring adhesives and installation products, DriTac offers a full line of zero VOC, zero solvent and independently tested products that have been certified by the Carpet and Rug Institute’s Green Label Plus Program for Indoor Air Quality.