By Ken Ryan
New York—Flooring distribution has seen major consolidation in recent years with mergers and acquisitions far outstripping the number of new entrants into the market. However, Floorco sees a path to market that it believes can work effectively—next-day delivery and a merchandising mix entailing 75% private label, which generally allows for higher profit margins.
Under industry veteran Ron Conley, who will serve as president, Floorco Distribution recently began selling to a five-state territory—all of Maryland; Virginia down to Richmond; all of Delaware; New Jersey north through Monmouth Country; and Pennsylvania through State College. Down the road, the company expects to expand its distribution presence to other states.
At launch, Conley said Floorco would service 1,980 flooring dealers encompassing those five states. The distributor guarantees next-day delivery if an order is placed by 4 p.m. the previous day. The products are stocked in two warehouses in Baltimore County totaling 85,000 square feet. The company currently owns five trucks but has enough drivers to operate 15 vehicles. “If someone said, ‘I have to get to 100 places tomorrow,’ I could do it,” Conley noted.
Floorco Distribution is currently in the soft launch phase of its operation but expects to ramp up quickly in the coming months. The wholesaler does business with several major manufacturers who sell the products under the Meridian private label brand. In addition, Floorco carries Beauflor, Bostik and Sika, and it sources from select manufacturers in Asia. Its overall mix is approximately 75% hard surface, 25% soft.
The Meridian brand will feature all flooring categories from a variety of carpet and hardwood suppliers as well as laminate and luxury vinyl tile/plank. The company will also distribute carpet pad and has plans to offer ceramic. “We’ll have every product there is,” Conley said.
He is well aware that Floorco Distribution operates in the same market as Haines, by far the industry’s largest distributor; and Elias Wilf, a top 20 wholesaler with a 100-year legacy. Rather than try to compete head to head with the goliaths, Floorco Distribution is looking to capitalize on being nimble and and offering fast service. Conley pointed out that former wholesale stalwarts Bayard Sales and Superior Products are no longer serving the Mid-Atlantic region, adding: “So maybe there is room for us.”
Floorco Distribution plans to inventory every product it samples and merchandises. “Our goal is to provide reliable, next-day delivery on all products we carry,” Conley stated. “We are extremely excited to be one of the very few companies to offer this advantage.”
Floorco is a privately owned global sourcing products and services provider headquartered in Baltimore with manufacturing operations in Asia. In addition to Floorco Distribution, the company operates two other separate divisions—Flagship Sourcing and Floorco Commercial.