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Valencia Hardwoods introduces high-end hardwood flooring line

Screen Shot 2017-04-03 at 11.17.23 AMAustin, Texas—Valencia Hardwoods, an Austin-based hardwood flooring manufacturer and distributor, is introducing a high-end hardwood flooring line for the Texas Market, according to Mark Szeneri, president. The Valencia Hardwoods product line will have many introductory styles of prefinished hardwood floors, as well as unfinished hardwood floors including the option for herringbone and chevron patterns.

The focus of the Valencia Hardwoods flooring line is to offer handcrafted hardwood flooring designed to perform in both commercial and residential environments. These hardwood floors are manufactured with the environment in mind, only harvesting mature timber wood and following a strict chain of custody all the way through the manufacturing process.

“It is an exciting time for us, and moreover, the domestic hardwood flooring industry, for us to be able to offer exceptional style and quality hardwood flooring, that is competitively priced, and provide a positive impact with our distributors and dealer network,” said George Gault, vice president, sales and marketing. “Our long-term strategy is to stay ahead of the marketplace with flooring finishes, style and performance, while expanding our quality product line of engineered hardwood flooring.”

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Hardwood: State of the industry—Housing sector, engineered sales drive revenues

March 27/April 3, 2017: Volume 31, Issue 21

By Reginald Tucker

 

Screen Shot 2017-03-31 at 10.18.34 AMBy most accounts, 2016 was a respectable year for North American hardwood flooring manufacturers. Anecdotal information combined with preliminary estimates show the category grew between 5.5% to 6% in 2016, with volume increasing roughly 5%. That would put sales at the first point of distribution somewhere between $2.17 billion and $2.2 billion in sales with volume in the range of 860-880 million square feet.

While manufacturer estimates vary widely, suppliers are in general agreement on several points: Strong end-use sectors combined with high-performing sub-categories and innovative formats within the hardwood flooring sector are sustaining revenues.

“Primarily new home construction and residential replacement are the sectors driving the most growth for hardwood,” said Dan Natkin, vice president, wood and laminate, Mannington. “The category continued to increase in 2016, albeit at a slightly slower pace—3%-4% over the prior year.”

Other major manufacturers were also conservative in their estimates. “Last year was a fairly good year in hardwood sales with the category up by low- to mid-single digits,” said Christopher Moore, wood product manager, Armstrong Floors. “While the new home construction sector did not reach the lofty highs that many expected, a modest movement helped to lift sales of hardwood flooring to a respectable level in 2016.”

Some estimates were much more aggressive. Mohawk, which also counts the Quick-Step wood line among its brand assets, believes the prefinished hardwood flooring market grew close to 10% in 2016 vs. 2015. “The majority of this growth was driven by the new construction market, both in single-family and high rises,” said Roger Farabee, senior vice president, wood and laminate. “Remodel grew as well but at a slower rate. Commercial had the lowest growth and remains a very small part of the overall hardwood market.”

Within the prefinished segment, suppliers saw particularly brisk activity on the engineered side of the business. Indeed, in 2015 the industry saw a continued shift in the ratio of engineered to solid production. In fact, more manufacturers are developing engineered products that mimic the thickness of solid but offer the performance attributes of engineered. (Lauzon’s new Organik series, which features the company’s innovative Pure Genius anti-microbial technology, is a case in point.)

The trend toward wider plank visuals lends itself to engineered given their enhanced stability, experts say. Natkin estimates engineered will represent 60% of the hardwood market within the next two years—up from about 50% today.”

Screen Shot 2017-03-31 at 10.18.27 AMThe continued shift from solid to engineered is increasingly evident, experts say, especially as imports continue to take market share from domestic manufacturers. Brad Williams, vice president of sales and marketing for Boa-Franc, makers of the Mirage brand, cited several reasons why these thicker engineered products continue to increase their share. “With the builder market using wood subfloors, their goal is to make a flush transition with ceramic floors in the kitchen, bathroom, etc. As ceramic tiles trend larger and thicker, it’s a nice option to have the same in hardwood—wider and thicker. There is also the renovation market where flooring ripped out was ¾ inches thick. It makes for an easier renovation as the heights for doors and cabinetry were done based on ¾- inch thickness.”

For some buyers, it boils down to personal preference. As Michael Barnett, wood product manager, Armstrong, explains: “Innovation continues to happen across both structures and, of course, engineered offers opportunities for design innovation combined with its installation flexibility. While solid wood continues to be a coveted choice for homebuyers, certain looks, lengths and widths can be achieved with engineered that either do not exist with solid or are more challenging to produce. Engineered hardwood floors are also better suited than solid in certain installation applications, such as basements.”

The ongoing migration to engineered hardwood is reflected in the investments major manufacturers are making in the segment. Shaw Floors, for instance, completed the expansion of its hardwood flooring manufacturing facility in South Pittsburg, Tenn., specifically to meet the growing demand for its engineered hardwood flooring products. According to Vance Bell, chairman and CEO, the $40 million investment adds more than 60% capacity to the existing hardwood manufacturing facility. “The expansion of our South Pittsburg engineered hardwood facility is a prime example of our continued investment in new product development and advanced manufacturing practices. Hardwood is important to Shaw’s business growth strategy.”

Shaw is not the only company heavily investing in engineered production. Last summer Mullican Flooring announced plans to invest $15 million in equipment, buildings and working capital to expand its manufacturing operations via the acquisition of a 126,000-square-foot warehouse in Johnson City, Tenn. This latest expansion, which marks Mullican Flooring’s fourth major growth initiative in Johnson City during the past 16 years, will provide extra capacity as well as raw material and finished product storage space to meet increased manufacturing needs.

In that same vein, Wickham Hardwood has invested more than $7 million in a new, state-of-the-art engineered flooring line. The game plan over the mid to long term, according to Paul Rezuke, vice president, residential sales, USA, is to align its engineered offerings with its solid products.

Pricing stability
Screen Shot 2017-03-31 at 10.18.14 AMAnother factor that has positively impacted U.S. hardwood flooring manufacturers is the continued stabilization of raw material costs. In 2013 and into 2014, skyrocketing lumber costs negatively impacted margins for many suppliers—including Canadian companies—and forced several market leaders to raise prices. But manufacturers report the raw material pricing stability they experienced in late 2015 has carried over to much of 2016.

“There is great pricing stability at the moment,” Boa-Franc’s Williams said. “We believe the demand from overseas has softened with North American suppliers, which creates more of a need to supply the local market here in North America, so pricing is holding steady. At the same time, inventories throughout the pipeline are at good, balanced levels—which also contributes to stable prices.”

For Mohawk, lumber pricing stabilized overall in 2016—a trend that, according to Farabee, seems to be holding steady so far in 2017. “But this could change if demand for certain species (e.g. white oak) outstrips supply.”

That’s a real concern for some suppliers. Mannington’s Natkin says raw material prices are still high but have been stable through the first quarter of 2017. Certain species, such as hickory, walnut and white oak, he said, are showing modest inflation. “But it is generally under control for the time being.”

Stiff competition
While hardwood suppliers are keeping a close eye on raw material costs, they are also watching the rising popularity of competing hard surface products, particularly those that are doing a much better job of replicating natural materials such as wood. WPC, LVT and, yes, laminate all fall into this category.

Wood suppliers agree some of their products could be ceding market share to these competitive categories. “For the first time in my career, I can definitively say some of these categories have taken share within certain segments from hardwood,” Natkin said. “Particularly in new home construction, both single- and multi-family units.”

Others are not as concerned. Armstrong’s Moore believes that as long as hardwood itself is desirable, there will continue to be a proliferation of wood looks, whether in resilient, tile or laminate. “While hardwood is challenged by some look-alike products, we believe genuine hardwood flooring will continue to be desired by homeowners because of its natural beauty, enduring quality and durability. This is an investment that lasts for years and offers timeless style.”

Screen Shot 2017-03-31 at 10.18.48 AMMohawk’s Farabee agreed, adding: “Hardwood remains the top aspirational hard surface flooring product, and we don’t see that changing anytime soon. While the other categories have done a better job imitating wood, many customers don’t want an imitation; they want the real thing. No other product will ever be able to duplicate the 100% custom, unique look obtained with every hardwood floor that is installed.”

Williams believes some wood products—especially those on the lower end of the price spectrum—have ceded some market share to competing categories, but he thinks that pressure is coming primarily from builder and residential renovation markets, which tend to be more cost conscious. On the whole, though, he has not seen any dramatic market share shift from a numbers point of view to substantiate and support this increase is coming at the expense of wood.

Mitigating factors
Beyond pricing/raw material costs and competitive pressures (both within the category and externally), suppliers identified other issues that stand to impact hardwood’s growth. These range from global competition to changing retail dynamics right here at home.

“Imports continue to be unfairly dumped at low prices,” Natkin said, adding this is an issue primarily with engineered hardwood. “Despite the ITC actions, there is rampant circumvention and the U.S. government has failed to act on any of it.”

For Armstrong, one of the issues in the hardwood industry right now seems to be private-label imports. “At the entry level, where the growth rates are highest, most of the competitive landscape is dominated by imports, which keep margins thin,” Barnett said.

Mirage’s Williams also expects to see an increase in imports as well as additional pressure from “look-alike products” from other categories. But he also thinks home centers and large retailers are getting bigger and taking market share from the smaller independents. “Private-label programs also continue to take market share.”

Outlook for remainder of 2017
Despite these pressures, many suppliers are optimistic hardwood will continue to hold its own as a category. They cite, among other things, continued investment in manufacturing and innovation as well as strong demand among consumers and end users.

“The housing market will continue to strengthen, although single-family starts and completions remain more than 20% lower than the historical average,” said Neil Poland, president Mullican Flooring. He expects to see growth in the 4%-5% range for 2017. “Engineered flooring will lead this growth as housing grows more rapidly in Sun Belt markets.”

Others are more bullish with their projections. “We are confident that—if interest rates remain constant and the U.S. economy continues to be positive—growth will be in the 6% to 10% range,” Wickham Hardwood’s Rezuke said. “Our opportunities will derive from our increased expansion in the U.S. market, along with successful implementation of new products.”

Shaw also expects to see growth in the 6%-8% range for 2017, based on trends it is seeing in the new home construction market. “We will continue to outpace the growth of the flooring market,” said Drew Hash, vice president, hard surfaces. “Our wide breadth of categories and consistent standard of quality supports that outlook.”

 

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Suncrest Supply acquires hand-crafted wood manufacturing facility

Screen Shot 2017-03-22 at 11.35.31 AMPalm Beach, Fla.—Suncrest Supply has acquired a hand-crafted wood manufacturing facility based in Kershaw, S.C., for custom wood walls, flooring, ceiling and furniture.

This new facility will allow the company to capitalize on the evolving hand-crafted trend for exclusive designs featuring textures, accents and charred, mixed species to create unique offerings for OEM and private-label programs for distributors, retailers and wood floor specialist, with an emphasis on made in the U.S.A.

The company will introduce its design capabilities and manufacturing services at the NWFA convention in April, said Dewevai Buchanan, president of Suncrest Supply.

For more information, contact Mike White, manufacturing manager, at mwhite@suncrestsupply.com, or call 434.770.5743.

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Spring introductions unseen at Surfaces

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

By Ken Ryan

 

Surfaces served as the staging area for the bulk of new flooring introductions for 2017. However, there were many other noteworthy introductions of the spring that were not shown at the big show.

Following are some of the spring introductions unseen at Surfaces.

American OEM
The company introduced 10 SKUs in its Covelo Canyon collection and eight offerings in Casa Bonita through Hemisphere Hardwood, an importer out of Paraguay. Inspired by the natural beauty of California wine country, the refreshing looks of Covelo Canyon pioneer a new design style—“modern rustic”—by combining fashion-forward styling with hand-crafted textures and natural character. The combination of modern colorways, a low-gloss finish and tailored edges create a sophisticated floor made from premium, FSC-certified materials for wood that’s both sustainable and appealing to the consumer.

Anderson
Mystique from Anderson is a distinguished-looking painted maple hardwood floor that incorporates a caulk paint visual with contrasting high and low lights to create an outstanding visual movement. In addition, the aesthetic charm and sophistication of the extra-long 96-inch planks create a dramatic visual impact. The Mystique line is a 5 x ½-inch ply core engineered maple available in five colors: Shadow, Starlight, Fog, Nightfall and Eclipse.

Mirage
Screen Shot 2017-03-17 at 11.48.07 AMMirage expanded its product lineup to meet ever-more-stringent quality and design requirements. Its new board lengths—up to 82 inches—make rooms appear bigger due to the fact fewer boards are needed. Another plus: Fewer joints are visible, yielding a more even look. The new lengths represent an average increase of 25% on Mirage’s engineered products in 5- and 6½-inch widths.

Gelato and Peppermint, two new floors with notes of gray, were added to the Sweet Memories collection. Gelato is a beige-gray that imparts a distinctive, luxurious look ideal for minimalist modern décors. Peppermint is a pure ash gray that brings a touch of minerality. Gelato and Peppermint are offered in Maple in 31⁄4 and 41⁄4 widths, in engineered in 5, 6½ and 73⁄4 widths and in lock technology in a 45⁄16 wide format.

Mullican
Devonshire is one of Mullican’s newest engineered products. This 3⁄8-inch-thick, 5-inch-wide product is available in seven selections of hickory and oak. Made in the U.S. and offered in random lengths up to 4 feet, Devonshire offers a classic hardwood flooring look that has been enriched with a lightly wire-brushed matte finish. The product is protected by the company’s Alpha A’Lumina Real World Finish.

Wexford, a second new offering, comes in a 5-inch width and random lengths up to 7 feet. Wexford is a European-inspired line that combines three traditional North American sawing techniques to create a classic European look. This collection features the company’s patented Aqua Shield system.

Shaw
Shaw Floors has introduced a bevy of products across all segments.

Screen Shot 2017-03-17 at 11.48.12 AMThe company called its 2017 tile collection the most significant in company history. Among the introductions are larger 18 x 36 sizes that improve the speed of installation and enhance the visual appearance with fewer grout lines. New introductions include contemporary visuals, such as concrete, metallic and other cutting-edge looks, as well as decorative accents.

Other introductions include Stellar, a porcelain tile reflecting a fusion of ancient bedrock and modern stained concrete available in large-scale options. Tessuto is a porcelain style made in the U.S. that features the warmth and elegance of an aged fabric enriched by a technology called clarity digital imaging. Tessuto is available in a modern five-color palette and full range of trim pieces. In Hacienda, Shaw used its clarity digital imaging to emulate one of Anderson Hardwood’s most distinctive wood styles. This glazed porcelain plank, with special staining and hand-scraping techniques, is made in the U.S. with 40% recycled content.

In carpet, TruAccents is a collection of Anso nylon and ClearTouch Platinum styles on a single display. The 2017 collection includes friezes, loops, LCLs and tonals in both fiber systems for an exceptional range of styles and price points. The TruAccents display is a compact, rotating unit allowing for easy placement on the showroom floor. It comprises four quadrants—two with ClearTouch Platinum styles and two with Anso nylon products.

Epic Plus Extreme Nature hardwood is available in a 91⁄4 x 82½ wide x ½-inch thick format. In its Extreme Nature collection, Shaw offers three species in four textures including Landmark Maple (three colors) that emulates the unique complexity of an authentic timeworn surface.

Shaw Floors’ newest laminate collection, Repel, has been specially designed to take laminate to the next level in water-resistance technology. Repel provides ample time to clean spills and offers the added scratch, stain and fade-resistance benefits of laminate.

In resilient, Floorté now comes with an antimicrobial attached pad to provide a healthy dose of noise reduction in the following styles: Classico Plus, Premio Plus, Alto Mix Plus. Featuring the latest technology in resilient flooring, Shaw introduced Alto HD in four high-definition visuals and six new styles in the Alto Mix line including multiple lengths and widths.

Tuftex
Tuftex Stainmaster PetProtect, Tuftex Signature and Tuftex Classics styles are new for 2017. Tuftex Stainmaster PetProtect products resist soil accumulation and prevent the absorption of difficult pet stains. These styles are constructed of SuperiaSD nylon fiber, which is resistant to fading from aggressive cleaning or exposure to light. Tuftex’s Signature collection draws on West Coast inspiration with a range of styles—from high-end textures and elegant patterns to exotic cables and shags. Its sophisticated color palette is woven through key collections including Naturals, Impressions and Architecturals. Classics offers retailers tried-and-true nylon products available branded or unbranded.

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NWFA 2017 preview: Training, networking, products galore

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

By Reginald Tucker

 

Screen Shot 2017-03-17 at 11.14.17 AMExcitement is building for the 2017 National Wood Flooring Association (NWFA) conference and exhibition, set to kick off April 11–14 at the Phoenix Convention Center. Named one of the 50 fastest-growing trade shows for five consecutive years, NWFA will feature scores of vendors showcasing the latest in hardwood flooring products, installation tools and accessories; dynamic keynote speakers and expert technical demonstrations; and a revamped educational structure designed to encourage attendees to increase their participation.

NWFA 2017 expects to draw hundreds of specialty hardwood flooring contractors, retailers and distributors from around the globe. The three-day event offers attendees 25-plus hours of educational programming, invaluable networking activities, an exhibition teeming with stylish new products and installation tools as well as special events and entertainment. It’s all part of an evolution designed to deliver greater value to all participants.

“We are really looking forward to bringing our industry together for another tremendous show,” said Michael Martin, NWFA president and CEO. “With the successful launch of NWFA University, bringing Hardwood Floors magazine in-house and increased engagement with our members, we have more to offer than ever.”

Martin has good reason to be optimistic. For the fifth year in a row, Trade Show Executive magazine has cited the NWFA Expo as one of the 50 fastest-growing shows in the U.S. According to the publication, NWFA excels in the following areas: net square feet, number of exhibiting companies and total attendees. In fact, NWFA has been recognized in one or more of these categories each year since 2012.

“This is very rewarding recognition, especially as it’s for five years in a row,” Martin said. “Since completely rebuilding the show in 2012, it’s clear our expo is delivering a strong return on investment for both our exhibitors and attendees.”

NWFA literally promises something for everyone. Due to the captive audience of roughly 3,000 decision makers, exhibitors stand to gain a qualified list of prospects. Meanwhile, owners can attend the various educational sessions and roundtable discussions to learn about strategies to help them implement best practices to grow their businesses. Sessions are tailored to address participants across the supply chain, with seminars running the gamut from jobsite preparation, nail- and glue-down techniques and the effect of sanding on finish to the science of engineered wood, cork and bamboo. Beyond the core product- and installation-related sessions there are business seminars dealing with pertinent topics such as marketing to millennials.

Expo education sessions set to take place on April 12 and April 13 are included in the registration fee. The pre-expo symposium, which will take place on April 11, will focus the science of wood flooring. Each participant will receive one CCU. This entails a fee of $225 in advance or $275 on site.

This continued emphasis on education is in keeping with NWFA’s long-term goals. “Six years ago, NWFA completely overhauled its wood flooring expo and rebuilt it from the ground up,” Anita Howard, NWFA COO, explained. “This past year we launched NWFA University to provide online education that enhances our hands-on training.  The success of these two initiatives, and the enthusiasm with which they have been received by our members, has motivated us to shake things up once again by reformatting our educational program at Expo.”

Screen Shot 2017-03-17 at 11.15.34 AMIn the past, according to Howard, the NWFA expo has presented education in a very traditional way, usually via content experts presenting information to attendees in a passive fashion. This year, NWFA is moving away from that format in favor of more attendee-directed learning with interactive, collaborative sessions. Under the new structure, topics will be presented by a moderator who will lead the instruction, but it is the attendees who will ultimately direct how the material is presented and what is discussed. There is no script, no prepared PowerPoint presentations and no outline that will be followed to the letter.

“This may sound like less work, but in reality it’s not,” Howard explained. “For example, a main topic may be presented with three sub-topics to be discussed during each session. Moderators will introduce the main topic, then tables will discuss sub-topics that will then be shared with the group as a whole. This format encourages each attendee to actively participate in his or her learning, establishes contacts for future collaboration and provides a more meaningful takeaway that attendees can apply to their own businesses.”

Special events

NWFA 2017 is far from all work and no play. A series of special events, social gatherings, receptions and even some awards ceremonies are designed to keep attendees entertained. The opening act, the NWFA Wood Floor of the Year awards presentation, kicks off at 4:30 p.m. on April 11.

Additional points of interest include a special keynote presentation by Matt Beaudreau, a professional public speaker from Northern California who has provided professional development training to more than 10,000 educators across the country. He will share his insights about how NWFA attendees work collaboratively across generations to improve and advance the industry. Immediately following Beaudreau’s presentation will be a performance from Urban Electra, a string band. Refreshments will be provided during the performance.

Another dynamic speaker on tap is US Army Master Sgt. Cedric King, who joined the military in 1995 and graduated from the US Army Ranger School. In 2012, Sgt. King was severely wounded during his third deployment. Since his injury, he has continued to be productive, competing in marathons, climbing mountains and serving as an inspiration to many.

A Happy Hour event is scheduled to take place on the show floor between 4:30 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. on April 12. NWFA winds down on April 13 with the main event—a performance by actor/musician/ activist Gary Sinise and his group, the Lt. Dan Band.

Vendor showcase

Another key draw of the NWFA Expo is, of course, the trade show, which will run from 11:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. on April 12 and between 10:45 a.m. and 3:45 p.m. on April 13. Scores of vendors have reserved space to showcase the latest hardwood flooring products, tools and accessories.

Case in point is Wickham Hardwood Flooring, which puts the spotlight on several popular solid lines such as Domestic, Winery (UV, oil finished), Wild West (wire brushed) and Mountain Home (hand scraped, oil finished). In addition, Wickham will showcase engineered collections manufactured to mirror some of its solid offerings.

Other vendors are putting the emphasis on new formats. For instance, Mirage will showcase new boards in lengths up to 82 inches. The new lengths represent an average increase of 25% for Mirage engineered 5- and 61⁄2-inch widths. The new lengths, according to Brad Williams, vice president of sales and marketing, make any room look bigger, with fewer boards needed to cover a given area thereby resulting in fewer visible joints. “The trend toward longer boards continues this year. Increasing our board lengths supports that trend.”

Other suppliers will showcase technological breakthroughs. Lauzon, for example, will highlight its new engineered offerings designed to mimic solid floors.

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Bamboo Hardwoods to kick off ‘Triumph TR6’ Giveaway promotion

By Reginald Tucker

 

BHW car promotionBamboo Hardwoods is giving its retailer and distributor partners an opportunity to win big via its “Sell Bamboo, Win a Classic Car” promotion. Beginning April 1 and running through Sept. 30, 2017, retail salespeople can qualify to win a Triumph TR6— the popular ’70s era British classic car—just by selling an order of Bamboo Hardwoods brand flooring. Note: An order is defined as the sale of more than one box of product; accessory orders without flooring do not qualify.

How it works: Upon completion of a sale, the retail salesperson simply fills out a form via a dedicated link to be provided by Bamboo Hardwoods. Upon verification of the sale, the manufacturer will issue the salesperson a “lottery ticket” to be checked against a live drawing Bamboo Hardwoods will conduct on Oct. 2, 2017. The lucky winner will have the choice of driving off with the car or taking home the cash equivalent.

“It’s something very different and exciting,” said David Keegan, president and CEO. “With other spiffs where the retail salesperson gets $0.05 a square foot here, $0.10 a square foot there—they get lost in the shuffle or they’re intangible. But to have a chance to win a car like this is pretty cool and makes it fun.”

In the past, Bamboo Hardwoods has given away Vespas and offered retailers and distributors other incentives such as trips, but this is the first time the company has done something on this scale. Keegan believes it’s going to be a hit. “In talking with the RSAs last year a lot of them were really excited about the promotion. People can visualize themselves driving around town with the top down in this nice British sports car. The benefit for us is it creates awareness of our brand and bamboo products in general.”

The chances to win don’t end there. Over the course of the promotional period, every salesperson gets $50 per sale beyond the third sale of qualifying bamboo flooring products. “So they get cash just for selling the product, plus a chance to win the car,” Keegan said.

In addition to rewarding retail salespeople, Bamboo Hardwoods also plans to provide a cash award to the distributor sales representative associated with the retailer where the winning retail salesperson works. “This gets the distributor motivated to try to make sure everyone in their territory knows they have a chance to win this car,” Keegan added.

Contact your Bamboo Hardwoods distributor for more details about the promotion.  

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American OEM partners with Choice Hardwoods

Screen Shot 2017-03-01 at 9.43.58 AMBurns, Tenn.—American OEM Hardwood Floors has partnered with Choice Hardwoods, a division of Healthier Choice Flooring based out of Dalton, to represent certain product lines in their existing portfolio.

Effective immediately, all sales of American OEM’s engineered hardwood products previously distributed by Maxwoods under its City Lights, Monticello, Maple Suede and Quantum brands will now be handled exclusively by Choice Hardwoods. Choice Hardwoods has purchased all existing inventory of these product lines and will be servicing orders beginning on March 1, 2017.

American OEM encourages any customers interested in additional information or with questions regarding the representation of the products previously distributed under the Maxwoods’ City Lights, Monticello, Maple Suede and Quantum brands to call Choice Hardwoods’ customer service line at 1-800-872-8426.

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Havwoods marches into the U.S. market

U.K.-based supplier looks to extend its brand to America’s retail, distribution and A&D communities.

By Reginald Tucker

 

Screen Shot 2017-02-24 at 12.36.03 PMHavwoods International, a U.K.-based supplier of hardwood flooring products with 40-plus years experience in the business, is looking to expand its global footprint. The company—which specializes in wide-plank, oil-finished, European oak products featured in high-profile commercial/hospitality establishments as well as upscale residential applications—has its sights firmly set on the U.S. market.

The strategy, according to Allan Singh, general manager, North America, hinges on several components: establishing a warehouse facility to help fulfill distributor and retailer orders; tailoring products that cater to local tastes and preferences; targeting the A&D community to boost specifications; and developing a marketing/social media strategy to drive consumer awareness of the Havwoods brand.

The first phase of that strategy has been realized via the recent grand opening of a 18,000-square-foot warehouse and distribution hub in Belcamp, Md. Shipments have already been dispatched to customers in California, Florida, Missouri, New York, Nevada and Utah, with more inbound shipments on the way. All 200 lines developed for the U.S. market are stored at the center.

“Looking at our global strategy, we saw an opportunity to launch the Havwoods brand into the U.S. market,” Singh told FCNews, citing the success the company achieved in other regions around the world, namely Australia and the United Kingdom. “We have been selling products in the U.S. for a while now due to the projects specified through architects and designers in America. With our distribution center now up and running, we are looking to establish a showroom in the New York area in the spring.”

The next component entails the development of a product portfolio based on trendy styles, formats and colors U.S. consumers and end users crave. To that end, Havwoods has created what it calls a “Wood Book,” a well-researched catalogue of products tailored for a specific market.

“Each country has its own book, with different products based on the market we are in,” Singh explained. “It gives architects and designers—our primary customer base—a full depth and breadth of products from which to choose and provides talking points for their clients looking to set themselves apart from their competitors by creating a unique space.”

Screen Shot 2017-02-24 at 12.35.55 PMHavwoods’ offering for the U.S. market is indeed broad. Available products range from in-demand solid and engineered offerings as well as specialty reclaimed wood floors. Designs include wide-plank, chevron and herringbone patterns, as well as unique painted floors. Signature lines include: The Italian collection, TrikBrik, Venture plank and Vertical (wall surfaces); prices run the gamut from $3.55 all the way up the ladder to $22.40 (reclaimed). According to Singh, the bulk of the products fall somewhere in the $5-to-$8 range.

While Havwoods does not own manufacturing plants, it partners with several reputable manufacturers in Europe. That’s certainly not a shortcoming in the company’s eyes; many of its clients can speak directly to the product quality. “Havwoods are always happy to go out of their way to assist us and make sure we get exactly what we’re after,” said Tayla Reynolds, principal with KW Interiors, based in Australia. “Their professionalism, efficiency and great range of timbers is what encourages us to specify Havwoods whenever we can.”

Will Ashworth, managing director of the Watergate Bay Hotel, Cornwall, U.K., shares a similar experience. “I have worked with Havwoods on several challenging projects over the last few years, and each time they have exceeded expectations. Buying a wood floor is easy, but securing exactly the right floor for the application at the right price requires the professional expertise of the Havwoods team.”

By design, Havwoods puts a lot of emphasis on the A&D market. Some of its marquee installations can be found in high-profile venues such as Marriott hotel properties, Pret a Manger locations and other well-known restaurants including Nando’s and Giraffe. As Singh recalled: “In 2005 we changed our strategy on how best to market our products. We started looking into the specification market by getting in contact with more architects and designers. That’s where we started seeing the greatest potential.”

However, Havwoods is not limiting its focus. Despite a crowded U.S. field, the company still sees opportunities via traditional distribution channels as well as potential direct-to-retail partnerships. “Our main clientele is the architect and designer, but we are also targeting flooring distributors and contractors,” Singh said. “We are also looking at the major trade shows such as Domotex, NeoCon and Surfaces, and we are utilizing the various social media networks to reach the consumer.”

DID YOU KNOW…
Havwoods International is a family-owned company founded by Henry Wiley in 1975. He started making solid parquet floors reclaimed from the Liverpool docks in the U.K., before moving on to produce new solid oak boards for the flooring market. Henry’s son Oliver joined the company in 1980, expanding the line to include more durable engineered products. Today, Havwoods has a presence in five different countries with agreements in place with various manufacturing partners around the world. It also currently operates designer showrooms in Berlin, London, Rome, Sydney and Melbourne. A New York location in is the works.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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American OEM achieves Indoor Advantage Gold Certification for hardwood products

Screen Shot 2017-02-16 at 12.54.06 PMBurns, Tenn.—American OEM Hardwood Floors has achieved Indoor Advantage Gold Certification for its hardwood flooring products. Indoor Advantage Gold certification assures that building material products support a healthy indoor environment by meeting strict indoor air quality (IAQ) chemical emission limits for volatile organic compounds (VOCs).

“Given that most of us spend the majority of our time inside, we know indoor air quality is an important concern for both residential and commercial end-users, and we are committed to meeting or exceeding some of the built environment’s most rigorous standards for VOC’s and overall environmental performance as a result,” said Allie Finkell, executive vice president, American OEM.

Indoor Advantage Gold helps contribute to the LEED V4 standard in the Indoor Environmental Quality category, as well as several other building schemes including BREEAM, WELL Building and Living Building Challenge. The certification also aligns with both ANSI/BIFMA M7.1 and CA 01350. Products must be tested by independent labs for compliance with CDPH/EHLB Standard Method V1-1 for VOC emissions in order to achieve certification.

American OEM has also achieved the California Air Resources Board CARB ULEF Exempt status based on the company’s rigorous VOC testing for all its hardwood products.

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Mirage launches longer board lengths

P06585_Mirage_outil-longueur-EN_v13Saint-Georges—Mirage has launched new board lengths up to 82 inches (2,086 mm) for décors that are larger than life.

The new lengths represent an average increase of 25% for Mirage Engineered 5-inch (127 mm) and 6.5-inch (165 mm) widths, with all the authenticity of wood at its very best. The new lengths make any room in the house look bigger, and because fewer boards are needed to cover a given area, fewer joints are visible. The final results speak for themselves, with a look that’s even and opulent.

The new board length is yet another response from Mirage to the most exacting requirements in interior design. “The trend towards longer boards has continued this year,” explained Brad Williams, vice president of sales and marketing at Mirage, the manufacturer Boa-Franc. “Increasing our board lengths—up to 82 inches now—supports that trend. It’s wood at its best, now available in more flooring types.”

The new lengths are available for all 5-inch (127 mm) and 6.5-inch (165 mm) width Mirage Engineered floors as well as the 7-3/4-inch (197 mm) width launched in 2016.