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Quick-Step throws hat into luxury vinyl flooring ring

Quick-Step LVF Silver Lining Oak, HiBy Ken Ryan

Quick-Step, the Mohawk brand that made a name for itself first in laminate and later in hardwood through its Q-Wood collection, announced its entry into the crowded—albeit still-fast-growing—luxury vinyl flooring segment.

Quick-Step is in the process of launching 16 SKUs nationwide through specialty flooring stores in August and September. Quick-Step said it is combining “innovation with art” in creating what it calls “a new kind” of luxury vinyl flooring.

“Quick-Step is a well-established and highly respected brand name in the flooring industry,” said Roger Farabee, senior vice president of laminate and

hardwood products for Mohawk Laminate & Hardwood, North America. “Retailers know that the Quick-Step name symbolizes products offering cutting-edge innovations, the industry’s best designs, consistent quality, and excellent customer service/product availability—all at an attractive price.

Quick-Step said its new offerings would be “waterproof,” not “water resistant” like many other LVT products on the market. According to the company, in controlled lab testing, Quick-Step LVF products were submerged underwater for three weeks and had less than 0.5 grams water gain, whereas competitors’ products experienced 7 grams of water gain and noticeable warping under the same conditions.

The waterproof angle is just one marketing advantage Quick-Step is touting with its new luxury vinyl flooring introduction. Farabee said the company’s luxury vinyl flooring overcomes “the number one challenge experienced by other LFV floors on the market today,” namely susceptibility to temperature extremes that can cause some luxury vinyl floors to expand and contract in direct sunlight resulting in waving, curling and gapping.

Quick-Step’s luxury vinyl floors are said to resist heat and sunlight. “The dimensional stability designed into Quick-Step’s luxury vinyl floors keeps them stable up to 110 degrees Fahrenheit and as low as 32 degrees Fahrenheit, so Quick-Step floors won’t warp or gap like many other vinyl floors,” said Jurgen Goessens, product director of luxury vinyl flooring for Mohawk Laminate & Hardwood, North America. “Our floors are a great choice for homes with windows that allow constant sun exposure.”

Another critical advantage that Quick-Step is marketing is a so-called “flat” production process as opposed to a “rolled” process employed by some other manufacturers. Farabee asserted that Quick-Step’s flat production “does not break the proprietary fiberglass layer, resulting in a finished product that ‘wants to lay flat’ once installed, unlike competitor floors that ‘want to curl up’ on the edges.”

Quick-Step’s 16 SKU line features only in-house developed decors to ensure unique, proprietary designs, with no variation from product run to product run, and a low repeat pattern of 10 planks per design.

An industry executive who has seen the Quick-Step product believe the company will have success despite a plethora of entrants already entrenched in the market. “The category is certainly feeling some congestion with multiple players, but in a world of sameness, in which 20 people offer the same stuff, there is always room for someone like Quick-Step to be the innovator,” said Jeff Striegel, president of top 20 distributor Elias Wilf, which will carry the Quick-Step product.

Striegel said the Quick-Step foray into a packed field reminds him of the time Mannington entered a saturated laminate market and yet succeeded with truly innovative offerings.

He noted that Quick-Step is already a step ahead of many LVT players with its heat-tested product that can be installed in direct sunlight. “There is a difference to the Quick-Step product right out of the gate, and then you add the expertise they have on the bevel and that you can install horizontally, vertically, or on an angle, and you already have a recipe for success. You peel back this onion and you see layer upon layer of differentiation.”

 

 

 

 

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Unilin's Winters wins NALFA 'Member of Year' award

Jane Winters and Roger Farabee
Jane Winters and Roger Farabee

Dallas — Unilin’s Jane Winters recently was named “NALFA Member of the Year,” an award given in recognition of “exceptional contributions to the laminate flooring industry”.

“Jane Winters is one of those individuals who gives her all to each of her projects,” said Roger Farabee, senior vice president of marketing for Unilin and Winters’ manager. “She cares about her work and the contributions she can make in her role as Unilin’s warranty 
claims manager. She is just as conscientious in her volunteer role as
education committee chairman for
NALFA.”

In her volunteer role with North American Laminate Flooring Association (NALFA), Winters has served as education committee chairman for the past three years. Her primary mission was to lead creation of different types of training to increase knowledge of the laminate flooring industry among consumers, retailers, distributors, and others in the home and shelter industry.

Winters was instrumental in the creation of the Inspector Certification training program. This training curriculum helps inspectors gain a better understanding of everything about laminate flooring from the construction of planks, proper installation, care, maintenance, warranty, and claims issues to the unique features and benefits of an installed laminate floor within both residential and commercial applications.

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NALFA names Quick-Step laminate company of the year

FarabeeDallas — Quick-Step, the style, design, and innovation leader in laminate flooring was recently named “Company Of The Year” by the North American Laminate Flooring Association (NALFA).  This prestigious award is given to only one company each year in recognition of “exceptional contributions to the laminate flooring industry.

“We are honored to be recognized — especially by NALFA,” said Roger Farabee, senior vice president of marketing for Unilin (Quick-Step’s parent company.)  “As an organization, NALFA’S overriding mission is to make sure retailers and consumers know which laminate floors on the market today are high quality products and which are not.  Being named NALFA’s ‘Company Of The Year’ is an honor that translates into a tangible selling advantage for our retailers.”

“Only products that are consistently of the highest quality can earn NALFA certification and bear the NALFA seal on their packaging,” said Shane Calloway, vice president of North American independent distribution sales for Unilin.  “All Quick-Step products are NALFA certified and Quick-Step has a legacy of proactively leading the industry in providing high quality laminate products.  Many of the innovations originally launched by Quick-Step have subsequently become industry standards.”

“Retailers know that the Quick-Step brand name symbolizes flooring of the highest quality,” said Craig Folven, vice president of sales and marketing, Herregan Distributors.  “As a flooring distributor, Herregan confidently provides our retailers with Quick-Step, knowing it will be one of their best selling brands.  Quick-Step offers consumers the best designs, a superior level of realism, natural texture, cutting-edge technology and innovation, consistent quality, low claims rates, some of the best warranties in the industry, and excellent customer service/product availability — all at an attractive price.”

Roger Farabee and Shane Calloway accepted the award on behalf of Quick-Step during the recent Surfaces floor covering industry event in Las Vegas.

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Quick-Step reports strong sales

QuickstepDallas—Quick-Step retailers and distributors nationwide are reporting strong 2013 sales for the brand’s Reclaimé Collection. Quick-Step’s Reclaimé Collection offers the visuals and charm of a floor constructed from reclaimed, vintage wood — at a price that fits within consumers’ budgets. Continue reading Quick-Step reports strong sales

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Winning the laminate flooring commodity competition

by Matthew Spieler

As a retailer, I focused on getting to know the leaders in flooring to learn as much as possible about the industry. Markets are the best venue for doing this. Most industry executives show up for these events. At one time there were several shows twice a year. Today there is but one giant market, Surfaces, which is not to be missed. In addition, there are dozens of regional markets, meetings and conventions that are important to attend.

Since the day laminate flooring first came to the U.S. in the mid 1990s, there has been chatter how it will eventually become just a commodity product. And while there has been a race toward the bottom in terms of pricing, there are specialty retailers who still make a profit selling laminate. Continue reading Winning the laminate flooring commodity competition

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Defining quality to consumers

by Matthew Spieler

In recent years, manufacturing has gotten to the point where some low-end products have a high-end look and feel. This is especially true in laminate. In fact, there are products that if brought back in time to just 10 years ago, they would qualify as mid- to high-end goods. So what’s a retailer to do to show consumers the differences between a quality product and one constructed not to perform very well? Continue reading Defining quality to consumers

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Executive forecast: Laminate officials remain optimistic

By Matthew Spieler

 

With the massive slide laminate had been on continuing to level off in 2011, officials remain upbeat the category will soon see better days—albeit not to the degree they once were, but compared to where they have been recently, any improvement is a welcome sight.

Executives admit there are still tremendous challenges even beyond the economy but feel laminate’s realism, performance and overall value will win back the post-recession consumer. Continue reading Executive forecast: Laminate officials remain optimistic