Posted on

Distributors rally behind Raskin’s FloorNation

May 22/29, 2017: Volume 31, Issue 25

By Ken Ryan

Screen Shot 2017-05-30 at 10.49.27 AMWith the luxury vinyl tile market bursting at the seams with so many new products entering the fray, distributors are tasked with seeking out products that offer true differentiation.

In Raskin Industries’ FloorNation, wholesalers say they have found a winning combination—a line offering great style and design, coupled with a made-in-the-USA story. FloorNation is a phthalate-free, virgin vinyl flooring available in three collections: Freedom, Pride and Glory, all featuring the company’s G88 advanced coating system.

Although FloorNation has been out for more than a year, some locations are seeing it for the first time. Such is the case in the Rocky Mountain region, where Midwest Floors, a Salt Lake City-based distributor, just introduced the line. “It’s been a huge success,” said Eric Parrish, owner. “Our customer base is most excited to have a product that focuses on quality and service. We all want something unique and original, and that is what Michael Raskin has done. He has taken time to see the trends and color tones that influence our North American market and then made his own color offering to complement our wants and needs with the Raskin line. Add in the fact that it’s made in the USA and you have a story worth telling and then selling.”

Ted Rocha, director of sales for Raskin, has worked on expanding the company’s distribution network since joining the company in 2016. He was particularly impressed with Midwest Floors’ rollout. “Midwest has never launched an LVT line like ours; their eyes are wide open. They really got behind it and have gotten out of the gates very fast. They are in a small market but it is amazing how much they dominate their market.”

Gilford-Johnson Flooring, a top 20 distributor, has carried the FloorNation line for several months and reports brisk activity. “What makes FloorNation so attractive for Gilford-Johnson is you have a concise product offering in the hottest category in flooring,” said Jodie Doyle, vice president of product management. “When you add Michael’s ability to bring popular, cutting-edge decors to the product line and the made-in-the-USA story, that’s a really great combination for a distributor and a tremendous value proposition for our customers.”

Doyle said Gilford-Johnson retailers have “eaten up” the Glory product line, which boasts a 4mm thickness and 20-mil wear layer. The line also features an extra wide (9.25 x 59.25) extra long format available in five colors. “There are three great selling stories in the FloorNation line, but Glory has been an absolute home run with our customers.”

Market expertise
Distributors credited Michael Raskin and his team for their extensive LVT knowledge as well as their ability to listen to the challenges distributors face and focusing on bringing solutions to the market. “With quality, service and price you can only pick two—and we went with Raskin Industries and their call for quality and service,” Parrish said. “Too often price is the story that is sold, but as a homeowner or a business owner we would never put in the cheapest product if we were educated on what makes other products better. At the end of the day someone can disagree with my opinion, but the fact is design matters and Raskin is proving that with FloorNation.”

Parrish added that the made in America angle is a very big deal from a logistics standpoint and should not be discounted. “Managing inventory from containers is a constant juggling act and one that is never perfect. To take a 20-week lead time out of the equation is a solution that everyone is looking for.”

Scott Carson, director of products and marketing for T&L Distributing in Houston, said the domestic production of FloorNation has made a huge difference in his company’s ability to service customers on a timely basis. “The product is being built in Ohio, and they are carrying product in Ohio. I can have the product in one to two weeks as opposed to 8-10 weeks [if imported]. That is huge for my business.”

Posted on

Distribution: FloorNation’s Made in USA story embraced by top distributors

October 24/31, 2016: Volume 31, Number 10
By Ken Ryan

screen-shot-2016-10-31-at-3-52-11-pmWhen Michael Raskin introduced his company’s first domestic-LVT brand—FloorNation—at the International Surface Event (Surfaces) in 2016, he was hopeful distributors would see what he envisioned: a truly distinct product that would resonate with their customers. Six months after the official launch, it appears Raskin’s greatest hope is being realized as three of the industry’s top 20 distributors have taken on FloorNation.

“Our strategy is to introduce good quality products to our customers from Lake Erie, Ohio, to Key West,” said Scott Roy, CEO of Gilford-Johnson Flooring. “FloorNation does just that.”

FloorNation is a phthalate-free virgin vinyl flooring offered in three collections: Freedom, Pride and Glory, all featuring the company’s G88 Advanced Coating System.

T&L Distributing of Houston was the first distributor on board. It has been carrying Pride and Freedom for two to three months and just got the Glory line. “My reps love it, they love the idea of getting it quick, and there is a story to tell with Pride, Freedom and Glory,” said Scott Carson, director of products and marketing for T&L. “The visuals are incredible. Michael Raskin has done it once again with designing that collection. What helps the distributor the most is that it is made in the U.S. The product is being built in Ohio, they are carrying product in Ohio. I can have the product in one to two weeks as opposed to eight to 10 weeks [if imported]. That is huge for my business.”

Joining T&L as top 20 distributors carrying the FloorNation line are Gilford-Johnson and All Tile, a top five wholesaler that covers a large swath of the Midwest.

To help drive sales of the Raskin family of brands, including FloorNation through distribution, the company named industry veteran Ted Rocha director of sales. He is currently meeting with prospective distribution partners in the West as Raskin continues to expand its national network. “I have never seen such a complete program, a selling system, marketing and display system, like FloorNation,” Rocha said. “We are locked and loaded and ready to roll. I don’t want to sound cocky but our line is so strong with the Made in USA angle, and with the Raskin name attached to it we should be doing the choosing here [of distributors].”

screen-shot-2016-10-31-at-3-52-21-pmOne of the chosen was Gilford-Johnson. “We were flattered that Michael considered Gilford-Johnson to handle the line, and we’re really excited to be launching the product in our entire footprint,” said Jodie Doyle, vice president of product management. “The thing we like about this new line is we are getting Michael’s high design looks in affordable price points with a product made right here at home. We believe the Made in the USA story with FloorNation is a game changer and we are ready to take that to the masses.”

Doyle said the line has broad appeal in both the residential replacement community and more significantly commercial A&D. “Our commercial group is really excited about the initial response they are getting and we’re already landing some significant projects.”

She said Gilford-Johnson first previewed the line at Surfaces 2016 and knew immediately it had winner written all over it. “Michael’s fashion-forward approach and insistence on high quality made this a no brainer for our company.”

Raskin said he plans to keep FloorNation separate from his other brands (Elevations Loose Lay and Loft) and emphasize FloorNation’s Made in USA story. Nox U.S., a South Korean OEM manufacturer, is making the FloorNation line in Fostoria, Ohio. Raskin is adding the design elements that differentiate the line.

In other news, the company is moving its headquarters to Deerfield Beach, Fla., and will soon open what Raskin is calling a state-of-the-art showroom and warehouse space. The company is currently in Boca Raton, which is just north of the new location.

 

 

Posted on

Raskin captures four platinum ADEX awards

Screen-Shot-2016-01-18-at-1.29.31-PM-300x90Boca Raton, Fla.—Raskin Industries recently took home four platinum Award for Design Excellence (ADEX) honors.
The company received three platinum awards for products from its domestically produced FloorNation LVT line— Glory, Pride and Freedom—and one for the R9 LVT collection geared toward commercial applications.
“These awards validate the hard work and detail we put into our designs,” said Michael Raskin, president and CEO. “They have come at the perfect time by giving us momentum as we officially launch FloorNation this spring.”
Selected by a panel of professionals representing a cross section of the design industry, ADEX recognizes the best product and project designs of the year in the A&D industry.
Posted on

Raskin to start domestic LVT production

Jan 18/25; Volume 30/Number 15

By Ken Ryan

Screen Shot 2016-01-18 at 1.29.31 PMMichael Raskin, president and CEO of Raskin Industries, said he always dreamed about making luxury vinyl tile in the U.S. That dream will soon become reality as Raskin Gorilla Floors introduces its first domestically made LVT brand—FloorNation—at Surfaces.

Nox U.S., a South Korean OEM manufacturer and one of the largest and most experienced LVT suppliers in the world, will produce FloorNation at its new Fostoria, Ohio, facility.

Raskin said the company invested in the cylinders used for the FloorNation line. “They are my patterns and I work exclusively with our own colorist who has done colors for Martha Stewart as an independent. We’re using their equipment to make product to our specifications. I have been doing that my whole career overseas.”

Raskin’s distributors have not seen FloorNation yet, and that is by design. He wants to surprise them at Surfaces. In a letter to his distribution customers, Raskin wrote, “Having product made in the USA offers some significant selling points … we will now have the ability to deliver hundreds of thousands of square feet in less than three weeks without the need to stock in a distributor’s warehouse. While others are building factories and attempting to manufacture product stateside, the fact is they are new to LVT production and are bound to experience some hiccups.”

The move to domestic production has multiple benefits. It will improve production and delivery timing as well as service for North American customers. “Ours will be one of the first LVT brands that is 100% made in the U.S.,” Raskin said.

FloorNation will be offered in three lines, all bearing patriotic themes.

Freedom (five SKUs) products are 2mm thick with a 12 mil wear layer in a 7 x 48 format. “Freedom will feature unique embossing not normally seen in a standard 2mm look,” Raskin said.

Pride (eight SKUs) includes two collections that feature 3mm, 20 mil wear layer constructions in a 7 x 48 format, distinguished by varying textures.

Glory (five SKUs) is also a 3mm, 20 mil wear layer product, but in 9 x 60 planks.

Raskin said FloorNation provides traditional looks that are reliable sellers and follow the latest color trends with variations of grays and multicolors with gray mixed tones. “It is about having product that works with the interior finishes so that the designer can pick up the color of the floor to work with the room.”

The 18 SKUs will have only wood designs. Phase two of the program will include stone visuals. Official production of FloorNation will begin after Surfaces; Raskin is hopeful for an official launch in the spring. “We want this product to be dead on but not a me-too product. My goal was to come out with the least amount of SKUs and the most variation as far as style, design and colors.”

FloorNation will be sold to both residential and commercial customers. Raskin said he is looking forward to delivering to large commercial customers in two to three weeks as opposed to a few months. “We will be cutting down lead time by two-thirds in most cases. The other advantage for distributors is about turns.”

Raskin said with a domestically-made product, his customers will have faster turns and thus won’t have to keep as much inventory. “We do a good job with our imported lines but no one can say they are 100% certain [it will arrive in time], so this increases the chances of getting more commercial jobs.”

As an importer, Raskin Gorilla Floors viewed itself as an innovative, agile, boutique manufacturer. Now it has the added advantage of being domestic. “We give our customers the ability to offer their customers a more attractive price point because we don’t have that overhead,” Raskin said. “Our customer gets the best of both worlds. The only thing we don’t have are the salespeople on the street that the bigs do, but then again LVT is no longer a niche market.”

Raskin said as he readies the debut of his domestic production line, he thinks back to his late father who was one of the first executives to bring LVT to the market. “I wish he had the opportunity to be involved in this market the way it is today—he would be blown away.”