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Reitz joins Encircle Products as partner, president

Baltimore, Md.—Encircle Products has tapped Fred Reitz as a partner and its new president. Reitz brings many years of executive management experience in the flooring industry to his new position.

Reitz joins the organization after 35 years with J. J. Haines & Co., in Glen Burnie, Md., which included successive leadership positions in operations, customer service, purchasing, sales and marketing. Additionally, he served as the president of the NAFCD in 2010, holds an B.S. in education from University of Maryland and an MBA from Penn State Smeal College of Business.

Encircle Products has developed molding programs and solutions that includes a full range of unfinished, primed and painted trims to solve the problems of availability and quality standards required of flooring installation at the same time keeping distribution’s costs competitive. For more information, visit encircleproducts.com

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Creating Your Space, Google partner at TISE 2018

San Rafael, Calif.—Shail Choksi, Google agency development manager, will be participating in Creating Your Space’s (CYS) panel discussion during the company’s educational seminar at Surfaces 2018, Jan. 29 at 1:40 p.m. The session, “How to Maximize Your Online Marketing Presence,” will focus on the contemporary digital advertising landscape and how businesses can effectively capitalize on these trends. The panel of retail flooring dealers and the Google strategists will be facilitated by Jay Flynn, vice president, CYS.

“Google is excited to join CYS at the Surfaces Expo to educate dealers, manufacturers and brands on the latest trends in digital advertising and the unique opportunities that exist within the flooring space,” Choksi said.

Additionally, the Google team will be joining CYS exclusively in the company’s booth on Jan. 30 for one-on-one pre-scheduled appointments with premier clients. For flooring retailers who utilize Google Paid Search in their businesses to optimize their results, this will be a unique opportunity to work personally with Google experts and the CYS digital marketing team.

“We are excited to have Google working directly with us to ensure our clients maximize their leads from the Google services we manage for them,” Flynn said.

Register for the session at intlsurfaceevent.com/en/Home/REGISTRATION.html.

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William M. Bird: A preferred partner for 152 years

The following feature is the eighth installment in a series highlighting the 14 distributors that constitute Bravo Services, a group comprising many of the top flooring wholesalers in the country. Here we focus on William M. Bird.

July 31/Aug. 7: Volume 31, Issue 4

Screen Shot 2017-08-07 at 11.41.53 AMHeadquartered in Charleston, S.C., William M. Bird has been delivering the goods since 1865. The company’s first product was whale oil, but soon expanded into paint, glass, and hardware supplies. In 1936, Bird began distributing Armstrong floor coverings and by the 1980s made flooring its single focus. Today, William M. Bird is one of the leading flooring distributors in the Southeast and mid-Atlantic with 10 branch locations in nine states.

One way the company strives to separate itself from competitors is through advanced online marketing and services. More than 50% of customers actively use WM Bird Online to place orders. “We also differentiate by the products we provide our customers,” said Maybank Hagood, CEO. “We purposefully partner with manufacturers Screen Shot 2017-08-07 at 11.41.48 AMwho are aligned with our company’s vision, mission and core values.” Hagood believes the corporate values set them apart. He continued, “Our No. 1 value is ‘We care about each other.’   Our simple view is how will we ever care for our customers if we don’t start with caring for each other?”

Looking ahead, Bird is going through a transition phase. As Hagood explained, “Three years ago, more than 50% of our sales reps were within 10 years from retirement age. We need to work diligently to transition to the next generation. Consequently, we work closely with each associate to understand personal career goals and timing. With that in mind, we are hiring new associates, at the right time, to effectively pass the baton.”

Going above and beyond
From the time an order is placed to the point when it is delivered, Bird’s entire team is dedicated to going the extra mile. If it is past the delivery cut off, it is not uncommon for Bird’s sales reps to personally drive a sample or an order to ensure customers have what they need in a timely fashion. For example, when a hurricane barreled down on Charleston last fall, a team of customer service reps traveled to Atlanta to set up and take calls.

Nuts & Bolts
Geographic coverage: Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Tennessee, Alabama and the Florida Panhandle.
Brands: Armstrong Flooring, Aspecta, Azalea Lane, Bostik, Bruce, East Bay Supply Co., HomerWood, Johnsonite, Metroflor, Palmetto Road, Protect-All, Roberts, Roppe, Schönox, Stauf, Tarkett, Ultimate RB and XL Brands.

For more information on William M. Bird, call 843.744.8289 or visit wmbird.com. For more information on Bravo Services, contact John Carney at 214.215.2880 or visit bravoservices.com.

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Novalis, partners support worthy cause

Coalition helps flood-ravaged Louisiana communities begin rebuilding process

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

By Reginald Tucker

 

For a storm with no name, it sure inflicted a lot of destruction on Baton Rouge and surrounding areas.

Screen Shot 2017-03-31 at 11.06.01 AMThe storm rolled in on Aug. 12, 2016, with more than three times the amount of rainfall than Hurricane Katrina, the massive superstorm that ravaged Louisiana back in 2005. Over the course of three days, 146,000 homes were flooded, thousands of businesses went under and 13 people lost their lives.

While the state of Louisiana is no stranger to hurricanes, this area in particular has not historically been associated with massive flooding. The storm forced thousands of Louisianans into shelters when their homes were destroyed. Since many people who were affected did not reside in “high flood risk areas” they were not required to carry flood insurance.

But sometimes the worst of times brings out the best in people. In the wake of the natural disaster, Novalis Innovative Floors reached out to its distributors and dealers serving the area to explore ways in which it could lend a hand.

Angie Alexander, national sales manager, flew to Baton Rouge in the immediate aftermath of the storm to assess the damage with Pat Barker, outside sales representative of Crescent Hardwood Supply, the Novalis distributor in the area. They met with David Iles, president and co-owner of The Floor Store & More, a Carpet One dealer in Denham Springs, La., who sustained significant damage to both his home and his store. Together they toured the area, riding through neighborhoods devastated by the flooding and listened to the gut-wrenching accounts of the residents and business owners who were affected.

“I knew we needed to do something to help this area,” Alexander recalled. With the go-ahead from John Wu, CEO of Novalis, she was able to provide as much close-out LVT as possible to help as many as possible in the area.

Soon thereafter, a “partnership of recovery” between The Floor Store & More, Crescent Hardwood Supply and Novalis was forged to begin the long rebuilding process for people in Louisiana.

Iles spearheaded the coordinated effort and floor installations, while Novalis provided all the new LVT. Crescent provided new displays to affected dealers along with the shipping of thousands of dollars worth of Novalis LVT inventory to Baton Rouge.

“We were just the vessel; John and Angie from Novalis were the ones who stepped up,” Iles said. “I can’t say enough about what Novalis did to help our community.”

While his store is back up and running, Iles says there’s still a lot of work yet to be done. He estimates it will take at least three years before everything returns to normal. “We’ve seen this kind of destruction before on TV, but it’s not the same until it happens to you,” he told FCNews.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) provided trailers for the residents who lost their homes. But it was clear additional assistance was needed to begin repairing homes and businesses.

“The stories and the devastation are heartbreaking,” Alexander said. “Many put a priority on rebuilding their businesses—their only source of income—before fixing their own homes. At least we’ve been able to remove the costly burden of a new floor for both their home and business. And for that, these hard-working people are so grateful.”

One of those people includes Chris Paul, sales manager of Rancher Floor Covering, also based in Denham Springs. He said 90% of the parishes were flooded, and his store sustained significant damage. “Without the help of Novalis, we would have still been working on bare concrete. The company has done so much to not only help us but also many people in our community, especially the elderly.”

Barker also cited Novalis’ largesse. “They generosity they showed was just tremendous. Not only did they replace the flooring for five of my retail customers, but they also took care of the flooring in the store owners’ homes as well. They are a top-notch company and they really made a difference.”

Crescent also stepped up in a big way to help the community. In one case in particular, the distributor worked long and hard with a local church to rebuild a day care facility housing more than 250 children.

Many other residents received aid as well. “It’s a horrible feeling when you have a home you’ve lived in for 45-50 years, and all of a sudden everything is gone,” Barker said. “Many families lost everything because they didn’t have flood insurance.”

Work yet to be done
It took only a few days for the so-called “1,000-year flood” to recede, but officials and residents believe it could take many months or even years to fully recover.

“We’re currently overwhelmed with [rebuild] business,” Paul noted. “Our owner has been working 72 hours a week.”

Crescent Hardwood Supply’s Barker is in the midst of wrapping up what he calls the “first wave” of rebuilds. The next rounds could extend for many more months to come. “We’ve been working closely with dealers like Rancher Floor Covering as well as Smith Building Materials. We’ve developed a camaraderie that will last a lifetime.”

That sentiment extends to Novalis, which often checks in on the progress of those who have become an extended family of sorts. “We felt strongly about coming to the aid of the people of Baton Rouge after hearing the accounts of the devastation,” Wu said. “I believe this experience can serve as an example of how businesses can pull together to help the communities they serve. We were only too happy to play a small part.”