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Haines retains its laser focus on the customer

May 8/15, 2017: Volume 31, Issue 24

By Ken Ryan


Screen Shot 2017-05-15 at 9.43.24 AM Oxon Hill, Md.—In the first 100 days of the Mike Barrett administration, the new Haines president and CEO, along with Chris Pratt, chief sales and marketing officer, and Hoy Lanning, special CEO advisor, set out to personally visit customers, mostly retailers but suppliers as well—including one- and two-person dealer operations.

Barrett presided over his first Haines Loyalty Club Summit here May 4-5. The venue, the Gaylord National Resort, sits on the Potomac River, a mere 11 miles from the White House, where another new occupant recently marked his first 100 days in office.

Barrett, who took over as president and CEO of Haines on Jan. 1, said the road trip with the senior leadership team was about staying connected to their constituents. “It is, and will be, a critical part of what we have to do,” he told FCNews.

The Haines executive team, led by Barrett and Chris Pratt, also includes Doug Drew, chief logistics officer, who started in January after previously serving in logistics for Dollar Tree Stores.

Haines may be the largest flooring distributor in the industry but it is not too big to take time out to greet its base. As Lanning put it, “without them, we’re nothing.”

Lanning, a holdover from the CMH acquisition, will serve Haines in an advisory capacity through the end of the year. He said the distributor visited about 100 customers since the beginning of the year. “We were welcomed by the retailers. They really appreciated the commitment Mike has made to being with his customers and listening to their concerns. In our industry there are not that many businesses that would go around to their customers to the extent we have and ask what we can do for them. I think it makes us unique. It is about the customer, after all. They are our livelihood.”

Screen Shot 2017-05-15 at 9.43.07 AMSuppliers and retailers in attendance were impressed with the steps Haines has taken to solidify existing relationships, some of which have lasted for more than a century—as in the case of Armstrong. “I’d say the last six months we have had regular meetings, positive meetings, with the new management to plan the business moving forward,” said Joe Bondi, senior vice president, chief product officer, Armstrong.

Joe Cole, owner of DeHart Tile Co., a Christiansburg, Va., dealer, added, “It was good to be with the new management and hear what they had to say. The partnership they want to build—the bridge they want to build to their dealer base—will help all of us be successful.”

Record turnout
Haines’ Loyalty Club Northern Summit drew a record attendance of nearly 600, including 184 retailers. Now in its 11th year, HLC membership has experienced “straight-line” growth, Pratt said, to where 400 retailers are now HLC members. According to Haines, HLC retailers who take full advantage of Haines’ resources—including special pricing, $700 rebate and exclusive product offers—perform several percentage points better than non-HLC members.

Screen Shot 2017-05-15 at 9.43.12 AMWhile maintaining close ties with customers was a theme at the Summit, perhaps the bigger story was the distributor’s push for improved logistics and service, or what Barrett called “a leveraged differentiated service model. We want to create a model that services customers like no one else can.”

To that end, Haines announced a transportation deal with J.B. Hunt, a $7 billion Fortune 500 transportation company that specializes in supply chain logistics. Haines will outsource its route deliveries to Hunt, which is known for connecting shippers and carriers using data to match freight with capacity to create efficiency and cost savings. “We felt this was a great cultural fit,” Barrett said. “We are not a trucking company; we sell flooring—that’s what we do. Hunt will provide the logistical and transportation excellence to support us. We are a month into this relationship and the accuracy and flexibility that Hunt provides is amazing; they hit the ground running. We are also getting good intelligence back from them. This is one of the smoothest transitions in logistics transportation that I have been a part of in my career.”


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Haines appoints Douglas Drews as chief logistics officer, Reid McCarthy as CFO

HainesGlen Burnie, Md.—Haines has appointed Douglas Drews as chief logistics officer and Reid McCarthy as chief financial officer.

An accomplished operations leader with extensive experience in nationwide distribution, logistics and supply chain operations for top retailers, Drews joins Haines from Dollar Tree. Over the past 14 years, Drews led logistics services and support as well as distribution center operations for North America’s leading operator of discount variety stores where he had responsibility for strategic planning, quality control and operational performance. He and his team drove year‐over‐year productivity improvements, streamlining processes and introducing new technologies. Prior to Dollar Tree, Drews held leadership positions at Circuit City, running 14 distribution centers and 28 centralized home delivery service operations, as well as operations and line management positions at Frito‐Lay North America and AM International.

Reid McCarthy has served as Haines’ acting chief financial officer since September, 2016 and is an expert in business and financial management as well as strategic and organizational planning. Over recent years, McCarthy has led financial performance improvements for several companies implementing growth plans, as a senior executive advisor and acting CFO. From 2006 to 2011, McCarthy was CFO at Topaz Pharmaceuticals where he managed all financial reporting systems, contracts administration, audit functions and strategic planning, bolstering the company’s financial position ahead of a major new product launch. Earlier in his career, McCarthy was CFO at Graphco Technologies; president and CEO at Atlantic Greenhouses, Inc.; and vice president of Finance at Trinity Capital Corporation.

“Doug has an excellent track record of optimizing operations and building high morale, high performing teams,” said Michael Barrett, president & CEO, Haines. “He will play a key role as we continue to fine-tune Haines’ operations and build the most cost-effective, value-added services for our customers and suppliers. Similarly, Reid has a proven ability to improve companies’ financial positions and strategic plans. His business and finance leadership has benefited Haines over the past five months as we have continued to strengthen our business. Doug and Reid bring skills and experiences that make us a better team.”

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Haines names Barrett president, CEO; Zwicker retires

Michael Barrett
Michael Barrett

January 16/23, 2017: Volume 31, Number 16

By Ken Ryan


Glen Burnie, Md.—Haines, the flooring industry’s No. 1 ranked distributor, has promoted Michael Barrett from chief logistics officer to president and CEO. He replaces Bruce Zwicker, who is departing after 13 years with the company.

A Haines spokesman confirmed the moves are part of a succession plan initiated by Zwicker and the Haines board of directors.

“Our board of directors, including Bruce, see this as the right time to transition leaders and renew our focus on growth and leadership in the floor covering industry,” said Pierce Dunn, chairman. “Haines finished 2016 strong, completing the CMH integration, creating new programs for our customers and suppliers, and building a strong management team. The board and our shareholders see opportunities for Haines to continue to improve service for customers and create more value for suppliers. We are thankful for Bruce’s 13 years of service and have confidence in Mike’s continued leadership in his new role.”

Zwicker issued a statement noting that, “Being a part of Haines, working closely with our customers, our suppliers and our dedicated employees has been a highlight of my career. I am proud of what we have accomplished together and see a bright future for Haines and its extended family of customers and suppliers. I have no doubt Mike and the Haines team will be successful in finding new and better ways to serve our industry.”

Barrett joined Haines in February 2015 to lead all Haines operations, including the company’s customer service, purchasing, warehouse and fleet operations. He has worked with teams across Haines making several operational improvements, including inventory optimization. Prior to Haines, his career included successive leadership positions running operations and customer service at QVC, Dollar Tree, Fingerhut, CVS and Sonoco Products Co.

“Haines has a proud, long-standing tradition of service.” Barrett said. “We remain dedicated to delivering the best products and services by connecting customers with reliable suppliers and employees with great careers. I am honored to lead Haines in continuing to serve our tight-knit community.”

The switch at the top is the latest in a year of executive change at Haines. Back in March the distributor announced the restructuring of its management team to prepare for the future. The move entailed the promotion of 16 individuals. That announcement followed the departure of long-time executives Scott Roy and Rosana Chaidez, each of whom left to become CEOs elsewhere.

More recently, Haines appointed Chris Pratt to chief sales and marketing officer (FCNews, Jan. 2/9). In the same announcement, the company noted Hoy Lanning, who served as chief sales and marketing officer for the CMH division, would be retiring as of Jan. 1, 2018.




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Haines brings on chief sales and marketing officer

screen-shot-2016-12-22-at-4-05-38-pmGlen Burnie, Md.—Haines has appointed Chris Pratt as the company’s new chief sales and marketing officer (CSMO). In this newly created executive position, effective Dec. 20, 2016, Pratt will lead the sales and marketing efforts for the three Haines divisions: Armstrong division, CMH division and Supplies division. The CSMO is responsible for all customers and supplier matters, and most importantly, for defining and delivering the value Haines brings to its customers.

Pratt brings to Haines more than 15 years of sales and marketing leadership experience. He has held executive positions in sales and marketing with the Industrial Distribution Group and more recently with Turner Supply, where he was vice president of sales and marketing. Pratt holds an MBA from Duke University, and will be relocating to Maryland from Alabama.

In addition, Haines announced the retirement of Hoy Lanning, Haines’ current chief sales and marketing officer for our CMH division. After an exemplary performance during the integration of CMH into Haines, Hoy will be retiring as of Jan. 1, 2018. Hoy will continue to report to Bruce Zwicker as senior CEO advisor, and through 2017 he will help Pratt with his transition.

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Haines welcomes record attendance at 2016 Summit

April 25/May 2, 2016; Volume 30, Number 22

By Ken Ryan

Screen Shot 2016-04-28 at 12.33.01 PMFor the second year in a row the Haines Loyalty Club Summit, held in National Harbor, Md., had a “newness” to the event.

A year ago marked the first meeting following the integration of CMH Space, a $200 million distributor, into the Haines fold. This year followed the departure of long-time, high-level executives Scott Roy and Rosana Chaidez, and the elevations of 16 individuals under a new management structure that was announced in April.

“It definitely had a different feel to it,” Bruce Zwicker, president and CEO of Haines, told FCNews.

He explained the new leaders, including Hoy Lanning, former CMH CEO and now executive vice president, CMH Division, have taken on meaningful roles. Some initial responsibilities within the next structure included running the summit as well as the distributor’s recent customer appreciation river cruise. “It takes a lot of people to pull this off,” Zwicker said. “I thought this summit was the best ever. Not only was it successful, [the new leaders] made it better.”

This year’s summit featured a record attendance (final numbers were not available at press time) and the largest product showcase ever. “We had more products, suppliers, more space allotted—it was expanded and improved,” Zwicker said. “Suppliers reported excellent traffic.”


Fresh programs, initiatives

Haines Loyalty Club dealers are independent retailers who are not affiliated with any buying group, although some may be a Mohawk or Shaw aligned dealer. These specialty dealers get access to a slew of marketing, merchandising, online and financial tools as well as discounts. New this year is a partnership program with the National Wood Flooring Association (NWFA) that enables Loyalty Club members to receive discounted pricing on certain hardwood flooring products. “The NWFA is really going to help our dealers in the wood category,” Zwicker noted.

Each year, Haines offers its customers several hundreds of dollars in merchandising funds to spend as they wish on business related items. However, too many members leave money on the table at the end of the year, group leadership explained. Lanning said Haines added more incentives this year to encourage the dealers to use what is essentially “free” money.

Also new for 2016 is Haines’ Voice of the Consumer, a digital initiative that allows for both “qualitative and quantitative” feedback between its customers and Haines personnel. “We can provide 24-hour response on any issue,” Zwicker said. The program is modeled after similar systems offered by Nordstrom and Enterprise Rent-A-Car. He said the objective is to create a stronger customer-focused culture.

2016 outlook

Every year Zwicker uses the spring meeting (the summer summit is held in late June in Orlando) to give his perspective on the state of the flooring industry. He said in 2015 floor covering demand in the U.S. grew about 3% to 4%. He deemed it a “disappointing but OK” year overall.

As for 2016, “It’s Groundhog Day all over again,” he said. “We predict ’16 will show about the same overall growth. Within that, new residential is the strongest segment. Remodeling is showing slow growth and commercial is sluggish depending on the sector you are in.”


Distributor award

During the event, Haines was honored with Armstrong Flooring’s top distributor award for 2015. Zwicker said the honor is a sign that Haines’ dedication to Armstrong Flooring products is paying off. “At the end of 2014 we created a division exclusively for Armstrong and we demonstrated the effect of that dedication [with the award]. Armstrong has been trying to improve its relationship with distributors—they have been very public about that. So this is a sign that they are trying to recognize the value of distribution and want to acknowledge that.”

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Haines restructures management team

haines logoGlen Burnie, Md.—Following the integration of CMH Space, Haines announced it is restructuring its management team to prepare for the future of the company.

The company said 16 leaders were promoted and given expanded duties to strengthen the company’s capability to improve and grow. Two executives (Scott Roy and Rosana Chaidez) moved on to become CEOs of smaller companies while work was underway for several years to prepare mid-level leaders to run the larger Haines, the company said.

“When you are a top notch company you develop people,” said Bruce Zwicker, president and CEO. “Changes are inevitable and when they occur they are opportunities if you are prepared. We are. We’ve been preparing for years.”

Mike Barrett was promoted to executive vice president–logistics; Hoy Lanning to executive vice president–CMH Division; John Coakley to chief financial and technology officer; and Bill Rothenbach to senior vice president–human resources.

In other moves, Jed Collins was promoted to director-supplies division; Brian Green to director-CMH Sales South; Mike Thomas to director–CMH Sales Florida; Jay Friend to director-CMH Sales North; Brian Parker to CMH marketing director; Nitin Mahajan to director-logistics optimization and planning; Mike Chisari to director-customer service and Haines voice of the customer; Eric Davis to director-purchasing and supplier reliability; and Jim Dennis to senior manager–supplies marketing and sales-North.

Additional Haines Leaders were promoted, and recruiting for various leadership positions is underway, including a director, information technology.

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Haines celebrates grand opening of new Florida facility

JJ haines logo NEWGlen Burnie, Md.—Haines has officially opened its new, expanded flooring warehouse in Orlando, Florida. At 137,000 square feet, the space is nearly double the size of the previous Haines facility less than one mile away. The new location also houses staff offices, a supplies center and pick-up location for customers.

Bruce Zwicker, Haines president and CEO, said, “The additional space gives us the ability to better serve our customers and grow in the Florida market, a market that is pivotal to our continuing growth plan.”

Michael B. Barrett, Haines’ vice president, operations, added, “The new facility allows us to offer the highest level of service for our customers and provide a better working space for our employees in Orlando.”

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EarthWerks expands distribution with J.J. Haines

earthwerksHouston—J.J. Haines is now the exclusive supplier of EarthWerks LVT flooring for Eastern Tennessee (Nashville East).  J.J. Haines has been distributing EarthWerks LVT in North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and Northern Alabama for over ten years.

“This territory expansion with J.J. Haines is part of a valued long term relationship and vital to EarthWerks’ continued growth in our focused markets,” said Shane Calloway, EarthWerks’ vice president of sales. “We look forward to our continued success in the markets served by J.J. Haines.”

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Haines hosts Loyalty Club Southern Summit 2015

Screen Shot 2015-08-13 at 11.02.23 AMChampions Gate, Fla.—More than 200 attendees gathered for the Haines Loyalty Club (HLC) Summit, held June 25-26 at the Omni ChampionsGate resort here. The annual event serves HLC Southern dealers with product specials, and offers business and product knowledge training as well as peer benchmarking opportunities.

During the general session, Rosana Chaidez, senior vice president of CMH division sales at Haines, discussed the substantial growth of the HLC program since its inception. “In 2006, we started with no members. We are now approaching 120 members in Florida alone, and they are using many of the benefits the club offers.”

Bruce Zwicker, CEO, spent time reviewing market conditions in Florida and the U.S. as a whole. “The commercial sector is improving, especially office projects,” he said. “New residential will improve modestly this year and get stronger next year. The first-time buyer is coming into the market but higher interest rates will moderate that. The remodel sector remains at slow growth. Retailers are either winning or just holding their own; big boxes are benefiting the most from Lumber Liquidators’ problems.”

Zwicker pointed to statistics indicating that the flooring market in Florida is reScreen Shot 2015-08-13 at 11.02.30 AMcovering at a faster pace than the rest of the country, but from a recession point that was lower than the other 49 states. “There was no artificial demand bubble yet in Florida and the number of dealers has declined here at the same rate as the rest of the U.S.,” he noted.

“In 2012 I forecasted three good years,” Zwicker continued. “Now, in 2015, I believe we will have at least two more good years of, at minimum, slow to modest growth. So, it’s time to focus on growth but not go crazy unless you have a big edge.”

Zwicker announced that Haines was doubling its warehouse space in Orlando by the end of the year along with a new Supplies Center that will be located in the facility, which is less than a mile from the current warehouse.

The highlight of the Summit was the product showcase, in which over 30 suppliers offered aggressive pricing on displays and products exclusive to the HLC members. Haines offered a section just for Supplies for the first time.

“The Haines Loyalty Club is a great program for the independent retailer,” said Don Herndon, owner of Herndon’s Classic Wood Flooring in Melbourne, Fla. “It helps us stay competitive with exclusive financing and rebates on many of our purchases. The annual Summit event is always a lot of fun.”

The Summit also served as the venue for the introduction of Mike Barrett, Haines’ new vice president of operations.

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Haines increases capacity with new Florida location

Screen Shot 2015-06-09 at 9.59.31 AMGlen Burnie, Md.—Haines will relocate to a new flooring warehouse in Orlando by the end of this year. The new warehouse is less than half a mile away from the current Haines facilities and approximately 50% larger. The new facility will also house a Supplies Center for customers.

“The additional space will give us the ability to better serve our customers and grow in the Florida market,” said Zwicker president and CEO, Haines. “The brand new Haines Supplies Center showroom will be located inside the new larger warehouse, which will have a better layout and much more inventory capacity.”