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Laticrete honored with 2017 Family Business Award

LATICRETE logo high res imageBethany, Conn.—Laticrete was honored at Hartford Business Journal’s 2017 Family Business Awards, which recognize outstanding achievements in family-owned businesses across the Northeastern region.

“This award pays tribute to my parents, Dr. Henry M. Rothberg and Lillian Rosenstock Rothberg, and the company they took from a basement invention to a global powerhouse,” said David Rothberg, chairman and CEO of Laticrete. “We’re proud to have three generations—including four of their grandchildren—carrying on their legacy and values around the world.”

The award was accepted on behalf of the family by Rebecca Rothberg, granddaughter to Henry Rothberg, who supports marketing strategies in sales promotions for the company.

To be named a winner, a panel of independent judges evaluated Laticrete based on overall company mission, community involvement, rate of innovation and business achievements over the past 12 months.

Significant achievements that received notoriety included: the launch of the industry’s first high-strength, chemical-resistant epoxy adhesive for installing stone and tile; and the opening of a new 70,000-square-foot in Grand Prairie, Texas—nearly doubling the existing 100,000-square-foot facility, making it the company’s largest manufacturing and distribution center outside of the Laticrete headquarters in Bethany. The acquisition of global licensees Laticrete Costa Rica, Laticrete Norway and Laticrete Italia are additional hallmarks of the company’s growth and allow Laticrete to function as a local company in every community served.

“The Laticrete family extends beyond the Rothberg name to our customers, employees and partners, and continues to be a vehicle whereby people around the world can achieve personal and professional success,” Rothberg added. “That’s really a testament to sound family values. You wouldn’t ask your son or daughter to work for a company you didn’t truly believe in.”

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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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Tingle Flooring: A mainstay in the Midwest

March 13/20, 2017: Volume 31, Issue 20

Screen Shot 2017-03-17 at 11.45.06 AMThe Moxley family has been managing the daily affairs of Tingle Flooring since the 1970s when Bill Tingle passed the torch to Bud Moxley, who joined the company two years after its founding. Bud managed the business until 1996, when Chip Moxley, Bud’s son, succeeded his father. Today, Chip and his daughter, Lauren Johnson, assist in managing the business alongside a seasoned executive team.

Tingle Flooring’s enduring legacy is built on customer service, and it takes great pride in offering same-day or next-day service to customers in Denver, Kansas City and St. Louis via local inventories as well as its central distribution center. Tingle trucks travel nearly 2 million miles a year and make over 15,000 local deliveries to independent retail and commercial flooring businesses located throughout America’s heartland.

In recent years, Tingle established a cadre of highly trained customer service personnel, a.k.a., the “Expeditors,” to satisfy those occasional orders that require a high level of handling. Any order that is flagged as an “expedited order” is followed, tracked, traced and accounted for by a dedicated individual assigned to the order. “The process requires a little bit of technology and a whole lot of diligence,” Chip Moxley explained. “The payback is better service to our customers.”

Screen Shot 2017-03-17 at 11.45.00 AMIn an age of Internet sellers and brokers that can determine the lowest price for any given product with a single key stroke, Tingle’s ability to forge long-term and sustainable customer relationships has kept it a mainstay wholesaler in the Midwest.

Going above and beyond
Through quick action Tingle literally saved a customer’s business from flooding damage during a natural disaster. Tingle personnel, aided by trucks and trailers, moved a customer’s showroom and warehouse before devastating floods arrived. While not a daily occurrence, Moxley said this example illustrates the commitment to customer service that defines Tingle.

Nuts & bolts
Geographic coverage: Colorado, Wyoming, Nebraska, Kansas, Missouri, southern Illinois and a small part of Kentucky—an area approximately 1,100 miles wide and 440 miles long with warehouses along Interstate I-70.

Brands: Armstrong, Bruce, Flexco, Shawmark, Bella Cera, Durock, Mer-Krete, Healthier Choice, Leggett & Platt, DriTac, Floormuffler, US Rubber. Tingle’s affiliated company, Summit Flooring Supply, provides flooring installation products as well as unfinished hardwood and pre-finished wood floors.

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Dear David: Transitioning the business to your kids

January 16/23, 2017: Volume 31, Number 16
By David Romano

Dear David:

I am now 63 years old, have owned my business for over 30 years, have two sons who grew up and are working in the business. I am ready to walk away but don’t know where to get started. Can you please help me?

Dear Worried Owner,

Screen Shot 2016-08-29 at 3.15.31 PMOnly about 30% of family businesses survive into the second generation, 12% are still viable into the third generation and only about 3% of all family businesses operate into the fourth generation or beyond. Research completed by the Family Business Institute indicates family business failures can essentially be traced to one factor: a lack of family business succession planning.

Following are pointers on how to prepare for your exit:

Determine your income requirements. Figure out what is required to provide the standard of living to which you are accustomed. Build a detailed personal budget—once a deal is struck you are most likely stuck.

Choose your future role. From a leadership perspective, the business founder must be prepared to relinquish the helm without reluctance or regret. A strong message must be sent to the next generation, employees and customers that this decision was made without duress or shame. The outgoing founder may or may not want to have a continuing role in the business in an advisory capacity.

Pick the date. A successful transition plan usually involves a fixed departure date with a strong system to support the new generation of leadership. Be sure to resist the temptation to interfere, and have an alternative exit strategy if the new leadership fails.

Get a professional valuation. Estate and succession decisions involve complex questions of law, tax and business planning, including the types of property, the form of ownership and, for small business owners, the organization and operation of the business and steps for passing that business to the next generation or potential buyers. Work closely with your lawyer and other specialists to find the best plan.

Identify the next generation or potential buyer. Be honest with yourself when analyzing the strengths and weaknesses of family members. If your family members don’t cut it, look at long-term, productive employees or competitors looking to increase share.

Build a detailed transition plan. Firms that focus on the family-owned sector can provide assistance with this task. When building this transition plan, milestones must be determined, timeframes established and required resources outlined.

Prepare the successor. Invest the time and money to train and educate the next generation of leadership. If your succession plan calls for a full or partial sale of your business to some or all of your staff, do the same for the employees who will take over. If you are selling to an outside investor it may be necessary to wear the golden handcuffs until the new regime is fully prepared.

Create a self-reliant business. The book value of a retail business lies in tangible assets, customer base, market share, revenue and expenses, and the potential for future earnings. However, there is no sustainable worth if the only way for the business to retain that wealth is through the daily management of the founder. Companies are much more attractive and sustainable through a transition when built on extraordinary systems that can be run by ordinary people.