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NAFCD welcomes new distributor members

Chicago—The North American Association of Floor Covering Distributors (NAFCD) has welcomed its newest distributor members into the NAFCD distribution network.

"We're thrilled to welcome our newest distributor members to the NAFCD community," said Kevin Gammonley, NAFCD executive vice president. "We continue to see steady growth in NAFCD membership, and this—in combination with our enhanced programs and member benefits—serve to bolster our community of flooring distribution channel professionals."

New members include:

Bolick Distributors, Corp., Baton Rouge, La.

C&C Wholesale Distributors, Dallas, Texas

Diamond W. Floor Coverings, Inc., San Diego, Calif.

Fuzion Flooring, Mississauga, Ontario, Canada

MarMe Tile & Stone, Concord, Ontario, Canada

Sales Master Flooring Solutions, Deer Park, N.Y.

Shamrock Flooring, Calgary, Alberta, Canada

Southern Wood Flooring & Supply, Dallas, Texas

Trinity Surfaces, Orlando, Fla.

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NAFCD enters strategic partnership with Market Insights

Chicago—The North American Association of Floor Covering Distributors (NAFCD) has joined a strategic partnership with Market Insights of Reading, Pa. The partnership is designed to deliver NAFCD member firms with an ongoing assessment of market conditions and trends in the North American flooring market.

“NAFCD is excited to offer our members insights on trends in the flooring marketplace at both the national and regional levels,” said Kevin Gammonley, NAFCD executive vice president. “Market Insights is a well-known and respected market research firm that specializes in highly specific flooring trend data which will help NAFCD members stay abreast of market conditions.”

As part of the arrangement, Market Insights will provide members with its Quarterly Market Monitor Report and summary excerpts of the U.S. FLOOReport and Canada FLOOReport. These reports will provide a narrative of U.S. and Canadian economic forecasts along with flooring market data and an analysis of the current competitive environment. The partnership also calls for Market Insights to provide members with access to its County Market Report featuring county-level market data on flooring sales dollars per flooring product category which will be highly useful to regional distributors.

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NAFCD announces 2018 officers, board members

Chicago—The North American Association of Floor Covering Distributors (NAFCD) has announced the organization’s board of directors for 2018. The NAFCD board is comprises industry executives from both distributor and supplier member firms that handle all types of floor covering materials, related products and accessories.

The 2018 NAFCD board of directors includes: David Powell (president), Erickson’s Flooring & Supply, Ferndale, Mich.; Steve McKenna (president-elect), McKenna Distribution, Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada; Geoff Work (treasurer), The R.A. Siegel Co., Mableton, Ga.; and Heidi Cronin (immediate past president), The Cronin Co., Portland, Ore.

Distributor directors include: Sven Johnson, Taiga Building Products, Calgary, Alberta, Canada; Dunn Rasbury, A&M Supply, Maretta, Ga.; Shane Richmond, Fishman Flooring Solutions, Baltimore, Md.; David Schmelzer, Lanham Hardwood, Louisville, Ky.; and AJ Warne, Abraham Linc, Bridgeport, W.Va.

Supplier directors include: Joe Cavanaugh, Tarkett, Salon, Ohio; Mike Croes, Sika USA, Lyndhurst, N.J.; Mark Johnson, Traxx Corp., Pomona, Calif.; Russ Rogg, Metro Floors, Norwalk, Conn.; Rich Willett, United States Gypsum Co., Chicago; and Zack Zehner, Mannington, Salem, N.J.

“We are excited to kick off the new year with such a strong volunteer leadership team,” said Kevin Gammonley, NAFCD executive vice president. “I am confident that this year’s board of directors will positively impact NAFCD’s mission and help to continue the positive momentum NAFCD is experiencing in membership growth, convention participation and value creation for our members.”

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NAFCD acknowledges 2017 education donors

Chicago—The North American Association of Floor Covering Distributors (NAFCD) recognizes the donors of the NAFCD 2017 Education Supporter Program: Mannington Mills, Salem, N.J.; Quick Step, Dallas; Sika Corp., Lyndhurst, N.J.; Primatech, Quebec, Canada; Shawmark Floors, Dalton, Ga.; and USG, Chicago.

The NAFCD Education Supporter Program provides funding to support the distribution channel’s evolving need for additional training and resources at competitive prices. With the support of these donors, NAFCD continued to develop and offer modern, cost-effective and dynamic solutions enhancing the productivity and profitability of not only the distributors that participated in 2017 educational offerings, but also their supplier partners and the industry as a whole.

“The commitment and support of these suppliers allows the association to provide resources focused on growing, training and educating professionals in the floor covering distribution channel,” said Kevin Gammonley, executive vice president of NAFCD.

The 2018 NAFCD Education Supporter Program is now open. Suppliers interested in this program can visit: nafcd.org/EducationSupporter.

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NAFCD presents industry awards at annual convention

Chicago—The North American Association of Floor Covering Distributors (NAFCD) announced its Lifetime Achievement Award, Leadership in Action Award and Growth Award recipients at its 2017 annual convention.

The NAFCD Lifetime Achievement Award recognizes individuals who have shown exceptional leadership and made outstanding contributions that have led to expanding the vision of the floor covering distribution channel. Bob Wagner of Fishman Flooring Solutions in Baltimore, Md., was the 2017 recipient of the award. Wagner has been a distributor member of NAFCD since the association’s inception in 1971. He has served on NAFCD’s board of directors in multiple capacities and continues to be heavily involved in the association.

The NAFCD Leadership in Action Award recognizes individuals for the positive impact and meaningful contributions they have made to their company’s success. The recipient of the 2017 NAFCD Leadership in Action Reward was Kyle Gorny of Blakely Products in Warren, Mich. Gorny has been involved in the construction and building industries for over 25 years and began his career with Blakely Products in 2011. Committed to learning from the bottom up, he started by becoming familiar with the customer service and operational functions of the business and soon used his experience to help the company provide improved services.

Introduced in 2015, NAFCD recognizes a member who has made outstanding contributions in furthering NAFCD membership. From increasing engagement with current members and growing support from industry partners to exceptional efforts in member recruitment, the NAFCD Growth Award is presented to a member who has had a positive impact on the association over the past year. Zack Zehner of Mannington in Salem, N.J., was presented with this year’s NAFCD Growth Award. Since joining the NAFCD board of directors, Zehner has been proactive in promoting NAFCD’s value to his company’s distributors and also encourages participation in key NAFCD offerings, such as the annual convention and the recently updated NAFCD Financial Benchmarking Report.

For more information, visit nafcd.org.

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NAFCD presents 2017 Lifetime Achievement Award winner

Screen Shot 2017-06-20 at 3.39.10 PMChicago—The North American Association of Floor Covering Distributors (NAFCD) recognized Bob Wagner of Fishman Flooring Solutions in Baltimore, Md., as the recipient of the 2017 NAFCD Lifetime Achievement Award, Nov. 15. The NAFCD Lifetime Achievement Award recognizes an individual who has shown exceptional leadership and made outstanding contributions that have led to expanding the vision of the floor covering distribution channel.

Wagner currently serves as president and CEO of Fishman Flooring Solutions. His experience in the flooring installation business dates back to the mid-1970s, when he was trained as a floor covering installer while in high school and worked in his family’s flooring installation supply business. He is a strong believer in giving back to the flooring installation community, which has provided him with continuous employment for four decades. He is actively involved in industry affairs and is a past president of NAFCD.

“Bob Wagner has given a significant amount of time and energy to not only NAFCD over the years but other industry organizations all in an effort to enhance the industry for all,” said Kevin Gammonley, NAFCD executive vice president. “He is an effective and passionate voice in the promotion of the value of the wholesale distributor in the channel. He has been a committed volunteer leader who always has the industry’s best interest at heart.”

In his current capacity, Wagner oversees more than 210 employees working in 35 locations who, since May 2012, own 100% of their company. His customer-centric leadership has helped the employee-owners of Fishman focus on improving how they serve and help their customers do their jobs better.

For more information, visit nafcd.org.

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NAFCD: Signs point to prosperity for distributors

November 20/27, 2017: Volume 32, Issue 12

By Reginald Tucker

 

Screen Shot 2017-11-27 at 10.06.00 AMColorado Springs, Colo.—If current business trends persist, the next few years should be prosperous for floor covering distributors. That’s according to ITR president and economist Brian Beaulieu, who delivered an enlightening economic keynote presentation at the North American Association of Floor Covering Distributors (NAFCD) conference, which was held in conjunction with the North American Building Material Distribution Association (NBMDA) meeting here earlier this month.

“The economy continues to grow and the consumer is in great shape,” he told attendees in the packed ballroom. “We don’t see anything that can go awry. We see a lot more growth than anything else in our future.”

Beaulieu made it a point to allay attendees’ concerns about the contentious political climate, assuring distributors and manufacturers that the sky is not falling. “Beyond 2022 it’s going to get a little bumpy, but we don’t foresee any recessions. We don’t spend a lot of time listening to politicians.”

Looking at business conditions at this point in time in 2016—when his brother, Alan, addressed the group at last year’s convention—Beaulieu says the U.S. economy at present is rising above year ago levels. He describes it as a “flywheel effect.” In other words, things that happen in the last year—i.e., the Presidential election, policy changes, etc., affect what happens the following year. Still, he noted, conditions are ripe for distributors to prosper. “Whether it’s blue [state] or red [state], you can still make green,” he told attendees. “Stop relying on a tax break to make things better for you. What you do in your business every day has more of an impact on business. Stop worrying about who’s in the White House.”

Indeed, virtually all the major economic indicators point to an economy in recovery. “The stock market, which sees activity six months in advance, is going up,” Beaulieu stated. “The fact that it’s rising in November means we’re looking at positive activity through May of 2018. Based on forecasts, investors can expect a rate of return between 1%-2% over the next five years. You can’t time this market in terms of the lows and highs, but you can decide when you’re going to put fresh money in the market. You just have to be patient.”

Screen Shot 2017-11-27 at 10.06.28 AMAnother positive indicator is the bond market, which Beaulieu says is currently higher than the stock market. “We saw the same thing when Ronald Reagan was elected. U.S. Treasury 10-year bond prices went up when Trump was elected.”

Looking at macro-economic trends, Beaulieu expects the Federal Reserve—under a new chairman—will be far less aggressive about interest rates than initially projected. “My message to you is to take advantage of these low interest rates.”

Another trend moving in America’s favor is its standing in terms of global industrial products. Beaulieu cited statistics showing the U.S. leads the pack, representing 24.7% of the world economy. “The U.S. is No. 1 and will be the leader for the next 100 years. Plus, a growing population almost ensures continued economic growth.”

But Beaulieu didn’t paint a rosy picture all around. He cited data showing the U.S. market will likely face a severe labor shortage in the next 15 years. The good news, he said, is this is not relegated to the U.S. but is rather a global phenomenon. His advice? Become more innovative in the hiring process. “Recruiting is the first part of the battle, but there’s also retainment.”

All in all, though, he told attendees that businesses predicated on consumers who demonstrate an increase in confidence will be in good shape for the foreseeable future. The only caveat: If retail sales dip below the 2.5% growth rate, then it’s time for concern. “You should be very bullish about your outlook for 2018. The consumer looks strong and you should be planning on this growth. This is the best economy on the planet, and there is no better time to be us in America.”

Overcoming challenges
Screen Shot 2017-11-27 at 10.06.33 AMDespite ongoing issues with labor, tighter profit margins and retail store closings amidst a rise in e-commerce, distributors remain optimistic about the future of floor covering in the U.S. In particular, many point to the fact major retailers are closing stores at a record pace, with announced store closings this year double what they were over the same period in 2016. Some statistics show retailers will close almost 9,000 locations this year, surpassing the number of closings during the 2008 recession.

“The flooring industry is not immune to the shakeout,” said Torrey Jaeckle, vice president of Jaeckle Distributors, a Madison, Wis., distributor. “According to the most recent Census Bureau data, the period of 2007 to 2014 saw a 26% drop in the number of flooring retail establishments across the nation, resulting in a 34% decrease in employment at those businesses.”

Jaeckle blames two culprits: Overbuilding and the rise of online shopping. Overbuilding of retail storefronts, he said, has made the retail landscape intensely competitive, leading to a surge of downward pricing pressure. By that same token, online shopping has had its own effect on pricing, due to the ease with which it facilitates price shopping.

His advice to flooring retailers and distributors? “First, stay on your toes. The changes happening now in our industry are tremendous. It is critical industry participants, including flooring retailers, stay on top of these changes and develop solid plans for their businesses.”

Within his own territory, Jaeckle expects to see robust growth throughout 2018 on the commercial side. He expects a different outlook for residential. “I think overall the industry for our region is going to see more lackluster growth compared to 2017 as GDP growth slows as the year progresses.”

Other major floor covering distributors are positioning for growth amidst economic challenges. Santa Fe Springs, Calif.-based Galleher, the No. 5 ranked flooring wholesaler, recently secured an investment deal with Quad-C Management, whereby the private equity firm will take a majority stake in Galleher. According to Jeff Hamar, president and CEO, the investment will provide Galleher with the financial strength to pursue growth opportunities both organically and through acquisitions.

In the last seven years, Galleher has averaged 20-plus percent growth year over year to nearly 250% in that time. However, 2017 saw only a 7% gain, Hamar reports. While California was hit very hard by the 2007-2009 recession, he said the state bounced back stronger than the rest of the country. Now the wholesaler is looking to drive that momentum with Quad-C’s infusion.

“Nobody in distribution has grown like we have,” Hamar told FCNews. “It has been pretty remarkable.”

Other highlights
NAFCD/NBMDA organizers reported attendance was up about 15% over last year’s event in Chicago. Combined with NBMDA members, the total turnout entailed about 800 industry professionals.

“We are thrilled by the interest in this year’s event,” said Kevin Gammonley, NAFCD/NBMDA executive director. “The joint event between the two organizations continues to be a rich setting for distributor professionals to make business connections and learn from educational sessions addressing relevant industry trends and distribution management challenges.”

Organizers also based the show’s success on the number of first-time exhibitors, which totaled 47 (out of 196) this year.

 

 

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NAFCD releases 2017 Financial Benchmarking report

Screen Shot 2017-06-20 at 3.39.10 PMChicago—The North American Association of Floor Covering Distributors (NAFCD) has released its 2017 Financial Benchmarking report, a profitability analysis of NAFCD members designed to analyze and understand “best practices” of floor covering distributor companies. This financial benchmarking tool addresses critical business questions with unprecedented ease, speed and accuracy.

This past year, NAFCD’s board of directors made the enhancement of this program a top strategic initiative. A new partner was selected, Mackay Research Group, due to its history and success administering industry benchmarking reports. Other changes included a shorter and simpler survey, a Benchmarking Definitions document and a user-friendly final report featuring an interactive dashboard. The association experienced a 40% increase in member participation compared to the prior year.

Some of the questions this tool helps to answer include:

  • What is the “profitability gap” between high profit distributors and other distributors?
  • What is a competitive gross margin in the floor covering distribution industry?
  • What type of productivity should distributors expect out of their employees?
  • Are a distributor’s payroll expenses in line with industry benchmarks?

All distributor survey participants received:

  • 2017 NAFCD industry benchmarking dashboard—Based on actual distributor data, this customizable report provides industry averages across a variety of metrics and includes text that explains what the results mean.
  • How financial benchmarking works—This document tells distributors exactly what to do next with this data.
  • NAFCD individual company benchmarking dashboard—Distributors who submitted data received an individual report featuring their exact data to make benchmarking even easier, as well as a visual of strengths and weaknesses compared to other distributors.

The report is made available at no cost to participating NAFCD distributors. The 2018 NAFCD Financial Benchmarking survey will open in April.

For more information, visit nafcd.org.

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NAFCD, NBMDA to host annual convention in Colorado

Screen Shot 2017-11-13 at 4.09.07 PMChicago—The North American Association of Floor Covering Distributors (NAFCD) and the North American Building Material Distribution Association (NBMDA) Annual Convention is expected to bring together more than 800 distribution professionals representing the leading flooring and building product distribution companies in the U.S. and Canada. The highly anticipated convention will take place this week Nov. 14-16 at The Broadmoor in Colorado Springs, Colo.

With 196 exhibitor booths and 47 first-time exhibitors the tabletop networking forum allows distributors and suppliers to connect face to face and conduct meaningful business planning. Semi-private tabletop booths provide an ideal forum for senior executives and key decision makers to discuss distribution plans and strategies for the future while also reviewing past performance. Meetings are coordinated by appointment to ensure a highly focused and productive environment.

“We are thrilled by the interest in this year’s event,” said Kevin Gammonley, executive director, NAFCD and NBMDA. “The joint event between the two organizations continues to be a rich setting for distributor professionals to make business connections and learn from educational sessions addressing relevant industry trends and distribution management challenges.”

For more information, visit distributorconvention.org.

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NAFCD partners with Industrial Fleet Management, International Truck

Screen Shot 2017-06-20 at 3.39.10 PMChicago—The North American Association of Floor Covering Distributors (NAFCD) has partnered with Industrial Fleet Management (IFM), a leader in fleet financial consulting, and International Truck, a major manufacturer of trucks.

IFM offers distributors and suppliers a complimentary and comprehensive analysis of their truck leases returning specific cost savings recommendations. This new partnership leverages IFM’s expertise and experience to implement cost savings for members with their fleet under full service leasing.

International Truck is a leading manufacturer of trucks and has a dealer network throughout the country. Through this new partnership, NAFCD members will receive a rebate from International’s corporate office on top of the purchase price they negotiate with their local dealer on the purchase of trucks from International simply for being an NAFCD member. This partnership targets members who own their truck fleets.

NAFCD’s new partnerships with IFM and International Truck provides added value for members whether they lease or purchase their truck fleets and also has opportunities for reducing fuel and material handling costs.

“Truck fleets represent extremely large areas of expense for our member companies and truck leases are growing more and more complicated,” said Kevin Gammonley, executive vice president, NAFCD. “Our members have identified this area as one which they are looking for help in order to stay abreast of trends, fully understand the pros and cons of leasing versus purchasing and reducing their costs. These new partnerships provide a menu of services, cost reductions and rebates to improve our member’s bottom line and to educate them to make more informed decisions when it comes to their truck fleets.”

To learn more, visit: nafcd.org/page/FleetManagement.