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Award of Excellence: Mohawk returns to top spot with Best Overall title

By Matthew Spieler

Volume 26/Number 26; May 13/20, 2013

Taking home the 17th Best Overall Manufacturer Award of Excellence was Mohawk Industries. This was the third time Mohawk won top honors. Holding the custom-made trophy is Mohawk’s David Duncan. With him, are, from left, Floor Covering News’ Steven Feldman, publisher and editorial director, and Dustin Aaronson, associate publisher; Mohawk’s Ken Durning; Scott Humphrey, WFCA’s new executive director; Mohawk’s Jeff Lubinsky, and Mike Blick, president and CEO of FCNews.

Roslyn, N.Y.—Mohawk Industries not only reclaimed the Best Overall Manufacturer’s title in this year’s Award of Excellence balloting, four of its divisions were also honored as being the best in their respective categories of expertise, giving it the most trophies of any company in this year’s competition.

In addition to earning the Best Overall award for the first time since 2009 and third time in the competition’s 17-year history, the company’s Karastan, Quick•Step, Dal-Tile and newly acquired Marazzi divisions were also honored as the best. Karastan took home the Award of Excellence in rugs, Quick•Step in laminate, and Dal-Tile and Marazzi were each honored in the tile category—Dal-Tile for Group A and Marazzi for Group B. Continue reading Award of Excellence: Mohawk returns to top spot with Best Overall title

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Quality control: Key advantage to local mill production

Volume 26/Number 25; April 29/May 6, 2013

By Matthew Spieler

With production in Barnwell, S.C., Kronotex is able to check for quality control, something extremely important for producing goods under the Formica brand.

Dalton—Mohawk is hitting the road this year and taking its SmartStrand with DuPont Sorona with it. The mill will continue to prove SmartStrand’s performance attributes in the coast-to-coast “License to Spill” carpet showdown tour in partnership with the nationally syndicated lifestyle television show, “The Better Show.”

The tour, which will make at least 12 stops, will showcase the cleanability and performance of SmartStrand at festivals and home show events. Attendees are invited to spill everything from ketchup and Kool-Aid to wine and coffee on SmartStrand carpet to see if it will clean with just water or mild detergent. Mohawk will promote its local Floorscapes and ColorCenter members at each tour stop and encourage consumers to visit their nearest aligned retailers to take advantage of promotional offers. Continue reading Quality control: Key advantage to local mill production

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Laminate: State of the industry

Recovery mimicking economy: Slow, steady

By Matthew Spieler

Volume 26/Number 24; April 15/22, 2013

With authentic visuals and textures, such as those in Mannington’s Restoration Collection, coupled with great performance and ease of installation, manufacturers feel laminate is in position to gain share as the economy recovers.

Like many industries and flooring categories in particular, the laminate sector was hit hard by the recession. But executives are quick to note the category’s decline was really no worse than what others experienced. In fact, many will note laminate maintained its overall market share and as the economy slowly improves they see the category regaining traction, with overall growth ranging from a minimal 1% to a modest 5%

Bill Dearing, president of the North American Laminate Flooring Association (NALFA), pointed out, “There was only a decline in the sense the entire building material business was off. Yes, there is competitive pressure but certainly not a ‘decline.’ And as overall business improves, so will laminate.”  Continue reading Laminate: State of the industry

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Best of Surfaces recognizes product, booth excellence

Awards program succeeds in setting new benchmarks

By Steven Feldman

Volume 26/Number 20; February 18/25, 2013

Las Vegas—Six companies brought home the hardware in the second annual Best of Surfaces competition co-sponsored by Floor Covering News and Hanley Wood, proprietors of Surfaces. The awards have quickly become the benchmark for product excellence and booth design at the industry’s premier trade show.

The winners were:

•Innovation: Emser Tile’s Flash Brite Linear Mosaic

•Style & Design: Mannington’s Adura

•Sustainability: Mohawk’s SmartStrand Silk

•Technology: QFloors’ Instant Stock Check

•Best Booth Design Over 1,200 square feet: Quick•Step

•Best Booth Design Under 1,200 square feet: Olde Wood Continue reading Best of Surfaces recognizes product, booth excellence

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Laminate: Neither down nor out

Quick-Step’s quirky vignettes led to a Best of Surfaces award in the large booth category .

Segment gets longer, stronger

By Melissa McGuire

Volume 26/Number 19; February 4/11, 2013

Las Vegas—Laminate may not have been the largest flooring category at Surfaces, but one thing was certain: The product still has a significant foothold in the marketplace. An overall consensus among retailers confirmed that while luxury vinyl tile is encroaching on laminate’s market share, the category not only has staying power, but growing power as well.

“Our business has grown 25%-30% this year alone,” said Doron Gal, CEO of Eternity Flooring. Headquartered in Pacoima, Calif., the company had positive feedback from the show and was very happy with the attendance. “We’ve seen more activity at this show than in years past. Even with the economy still down a bit, we’re seeing people buying.” Continue reading Laminate: Neither down nor out

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Mohawk’s focus for 2013: Soft, stylish and tough

Wear-Dated Embrace is not only soft, but offers the body that is missing from some soft nylons.

Highlights include Wear-Dated Embrace, Armormax 

By Steven Feldman

Volume 26/Number 19; February 4/11, 2013

Las Vegas—Soft is all the rage when it comes to carpet introductions across all fiber platforms, and Mohawk is at the forefront. While hosting its Western regional in conjunction with Surfaces, the world’s largest flooring manufacturer not only introduced Wear-Dated Embrace—heralded as the softest nylon carpet on the market today and backed up by third-party testing—it took the wraps off four SmartStrand Silk additions.

While much of the conversation over the past few years has surrounded triexta, nylon is still about 40% of the marketplace, according to Eric Ruppert, product director for residential nylon. “As a company we had not put the innovation toward nylon as we had with other fiber systems. So, we took what we learned with Silk and applied that technology to Wear-Dated Embrace and target [retailers] who have built their business models around nylon.” Continue reading Mohawk’s focus for 2013: Soft, stylish and tough

Quick•Step kicks off Surfaces 2013 with cocktail party

Quick•Step kicked off Surfaces 2013 with a cocktail party on  Jan. 28 to give distributor partners a sneak peek at what Quick•Step launched during this year’s show. Distributors previewed the brand’s new products, new merchandising, and new digital media. Quick•Step is a major participant in the Surfaces flooring trade show every year and hosted the Quick•Step booth # S6549 during Surfaces 2013. Quick•Step products are exclusively sold through a network of the flooring industry’s finest distributors. Continue reading Quick•Step kicks off Surfaces 2013 with cocktail party

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Mohawk closes on Pergo purchase

By Steven Feldman

Volume 26/Number 17; January 7/14, 2013

DALLAS—On Jan. 10 Mohawk Industries closed its $150 million purchase
 of Pergo. The proposed deal was announced in late October.

“We are pleased to expand 
our laminate offering with the 
highly regarded Pergo brand and 
designs that complement our
 existing laminate products,” said 
Jeff Lorberbaum, chairman and 
CEO, in a statement. “The acqui
sition aligns Unilin’s strength
 with specialty flooring retailers 
with Pergo’s depth in the DIY channel. In addition, Pergo enhances our geographic position and provides a platform to further leverage Unilin’s patented technologies.” Continue reading Mohawk closes on Pergo purchase

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My take: What I’ll be watching in 2013

Volume 26/Number 17; January 7/14, 2013

Two weeks into 2013, and I’m feeling good. Sure, my pants could be a little looser, but I know I’m not alone there. I also know there’s a lot to be watching this year. Here’s what I’m going to be keeping my eyes on:

I’ll be watching the economy. I feel good right now. Retailers tell me 2012 closed on a positive note and I’m feeling things will not abate in 2013. A mild winter in much of the country has to have helped. Getting past the uncertainty of the election and all that fiscal cliff nonsense (that phrase needs to be retired, right next to “outside the box”) should have us all moving on with our lives.

I’ll be watching the housing market, the segment whose fortunes most impact our industry. Recent reports indicate the momentum is continuing in 2013, which bodes well for all of us. And remodeling usually parallels housing starts.

I’ll be watching what Mohawk decides to do with Pergo, the most recognized name in laminate flooring. Pergo has primarily become a home center brand throughout the last decade. Does Pergo remain in that channel as a complement to the Mohawk and Quick•Step specialty retail brands, or can Mohawk differentiate it enough whereby it can re-enter the specialty channel?

I’ll be watching the people who need early boarding on airplanes insist on also needing early exiting. I don’t get it; you need extra time to board so you don’t hold up the masses but the theory doesn’t apply to exiting? Sit yourself down!

I’ll be watching for the resurfacing of a longtime familiar name in the floor covering industry, someone who has been quiet for a while, with a new venture.

I’ll be watching for a rumored new installation system for Alterna, Armstrong’s popular premium LVT, which the company believes will be the industry leader by the end of 2014.

I’ll be watching to see if Surfaces attracts more attendees this year with the economy, housing and business on the upswing. Between the FCNews-sponsored education program and all the exhibitors, I think it’s time and money well spent.

I’ll be watching “Homeland” since every human to which I speak seems to be addicted. All I know is it won a bunch of Golden Globes and airs on Showtime. (I don’t even know if I pay for Showtime, let alone the night or time it’s on!)

I’ll be watching to see if the ever-popular LVT category starts becoming associated with the dreaded “c” word—commoditization—in the wake of everyone and their mother attempting to join the party with their versions of click systems. I worry because that new company is touting style and quality “with price advantages.”

I’ll be watching to see where my friend, Anthony Minite, former president of Bentley Prince Street, lands. The guy has talent and fosters a first-rate working environment. In fact, BPS was always listed among the best places to work in Los Angeles.

I’ll be watching what I’m now calling the “Soft Wars.” It may not rival the fiber wars of the mid to late ’80s, but we have something brewing here across all fiber platforms. SmartStrand Silk (triexta), Clear-Touch (PET), Anso Caress, Wear-Dated Embrace and TruSoft (nylon), now PureSoft Cashmere (solution-dyed PET). And I’ve left out many, many more. All I know is it’s great for the carpet industry as it gets consumers up to a higher price point and greater margin dollars for the dealer.

Speaking of soft, I’ll be watching if the mills make it vividly clear that certain vacuum cleaners do not work with soft carpet. People tell me Dysons are out of play. This is very important to ensure a satisfied consumer.                                                                                                                                                         Steven Feldman



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June 2012: Shaw receives second straight Best Overall Award of Excellence title

Volume 26/Number 16; Dec. 17/24, 2012

The 16th Award of Excellence competition proved to be a sweet one for Shaw Industries as it was voted the industry’s Best Overall Manufacturer for the second year in a row, and fourth time in the award’s history.

The company’s environmental initiatives continue to be noticed by the industry as it once again received the Award of Excellence for Environmental Leadership, an honor it has won since it was first awarded in 2010. Shaw Living, the mill’s rug division, was voted as the industry’s Best Rug Manufacturer. Continue reading June 2012: Shaw receives second straight Best Overall Award of Excellence title