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NFA members tackle the issues in unison

April 10/17, 2017: Volume 31, Issue 22

By Steven Feldman

Screen Shot 2017-04-24 at 9.42.07 AMLake Tahoe, Calif.—When the 42 members of the National Floorcovering Alliance (NFA) convene three times each year, the sharing of ideas, listening to relevant speakers and furthering intimate relationships with vendors are the focal points. The spring gathering, held here earlier this month, was no exception.

Digital marketing is on every retailer’s mind these days, and to that end discussions encompassed platforms like Google and Yelp. In fact, Darren Braunstein, Worldwide Wholesale, Edison, N.J., facilitated a speaker from Google who provided members with ideas on how to capitalize on the search engine.

The big takeaway was the advent of mobile devices. “We learned more people who are searching for flooring are actually using their mobile device rather than their desktop,” said Ian Newton, Flooring 101, Ventura County, Calif., with Larry Flick, The Floor Store, Northern California, adding, “And that trend is growing rapidly. With everything going mobile, all of us have to make that move ourselves.”

Ryan Bechtold, Contract Furnishings Mart, Pacific Northwest, found the presentation enlightening. “It not only reconfirmed that people were going online, but how people are going online.”

Aside from digital marketing, a good amount of time was spent on the challenges faced not only by NFA members but all retailers in general. First and foremost is the labor shortage—both on the floor (sales) and in the field (installation). But members are finding creative ways to overcome the challenge.

NFA president Dave Snedeker, Nebraska Furniture Mart, Omaha, said the company has a training program starting at a community college this fall. Jim Walters, Macco’s Flooring Center, Green Bay, Wis., is starting even earlier. “We have had some success reaching out to surrounding communities where there are some smaller high schools. We are trying to reach young people who may not be going off to college and may want to learn the trade.”

Kelly Taylor, Ambassador Flooring, St. Louis, has been using a recruiter to head hunt for leads the last couple of years, while The Floor Store’s Flick actually relies on his own installers. “We have been putting some programs together so we not only retain our own installers, but hopefully they have such a great experience that the word goes out to fellow installers who have not been working for us and we grab them from competitors.”

All in all, NFA members report positivity in the marketplace, particularly since the election last November. “The overall sentiment within the group is that things are pretty good,” Bechtold said. “Usually in politics, the post-election cycle may throw things off, but it seems like people are less concerned [this time].”

Zac Akin, Akin Bros, which operates Floor World and Budget Floor Store in Oklahoma City, noted, “In a state that has gone red for the last eight elections, consumer confidence has increased in my market. Good, bad or indifferent, unrelated [to the Trump presidency] or not, everyone seems to be positive.”

Except maybe in The Floor Store’s neck of the woods. “It’s hurting us because Silicon Valley has gotten so much money from the Democrats for so long that people are very nervous,” Flick said. “I remember at Surfaces everyone was saying business is good, consumer confidence is up, attitudes are great, but it’s just the opposite in San Francisco.”

Vendors step up
The all-day member-vendor “round-robin” meetings, where each member gets approximately 20 minutes with each core vendor, was again a beneficial experience all around. While most suppliers step up their game at each meeting, NFA members cited Armstrong, MSI, USFloors and Tarkett as four companies that came to the table in a big way.

“Armstrong put together a great package on a stocking opportunity they gave us,” Flooring 101’s Newton said. “The merchandising and pricing across all categories was impressive.”

Others cited MSI for “great product at a great price. They get out in front of trends,” Taylor said. “Manny [Llerena] gets people excited and on board.”

Snedeker called his meeting with USFloors “time well spent” as Piet Dossche spent much of the time explaining the differences between WPC and rigid core.

And Tarkett came to the table with a new product that intrigued the group. “This show was one of the best NFA shows we participated in in the three years I’ve been responsible for the NFA,” said Randall Sheehe, director of strategic accounts. “We launched a brand new program under our new technology in luxury vinyl floors called Transcend Sureset. Transcend is a new technology—not a click, not a glue down or loose lay. It has a unique, proprietary backing that we developed and just introduced to the NFA at this convention. It was very well received.”

Tarkett has been making big strides with the NFA. “In the past two years we have had double-digit growth with the NFA,” Sheehe said. “And it all starts with relationships. We work with each individual member as well as the NFA board to bring solutions that meet members’ needs. We collaborate with new products, new technologies and new ways of marketing those products that will help them grow their business.”

In other NFA news…

  • Many members are expanding into categories such as walls, countertops and cabinets as they seek new profit centers.
  • The group is vetting one potential new member, who may attend the fall meeting in Newport, R.I.
  • The board is reviewing a potential change or two to the Specialty Vendor Showcase held the day before Surfaces in Las Vegas.
  • A couple of suppliers are standing in line to become core vendors should an opening occur, Snedeker said.
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Suppliers kick off spring seasonal promos

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

By Lindsay Baillie

 

March 20 marks the vernal equinox—a signal to most that spring is finally on its way. As consumers look forward to warmer shopping weather, suppliers are planting spring promotions that are soon to be in full bloom. Following are a few sales, rebates and incentive programs starting this spring.

Armstrong
From April 14 through May 31, Armstrong Flooring will host its “Bring It Home!” spring promotion. During this event, Armstrong is offering consumers a chance to save up to 10% on select hardwood and resilient flooring collections, including Alterna and Alterna Reserve Engineered Stone, Prime Harvest engineered and solid hardwood, American Scrape engineered and solid hardwood, TimberBrushed engineered and solid, Rustic Restorations solid hardwood, Luxe Plank with FasTak Installation LVT and Vivero Luxury Flooring with Diamond 10 Technology.

To be eligible, customers must make their purchase during the promotion period from a participating Elevate retailer. The maximum discount is $500 in the form of an Armstrong Flooring Visa Prepaid card.

Bamboo Hardwoods
Screen Shot 2017-03-17 at 11.40.50 AMBamboo Hardwoods is giving its retailer and distributor partners an opportunity to win big via its “Sell Bamboo, Win a Classic Car” promotion. From April 1 through Sept. 30, retail salespeople can qualify to win a Triumph TR6—the popular ’70s era British classic car—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.

Upon completion of a sale, the RSA simply fills out a form via a dedicated link to be provided by Bamboo Hardwoods. After verification of the sale, the manufacturer will issue the RSA a “lottery ticket” to be checked against a live drawing Bamboo Hardwoods will conduct on Oct. 2. The winner will have the choice of driving off with the car or taking home the cash equivalent. In addition, over the course of the promotional period, every salesperson gets $50 per sale beyond the third sale of qualifying bamboo flooring products.

Bamboo Hardwoods is also offering a cash award to the distributor sales representative associated with the retailer where the winning retail salesperson works.

Couristan
Couristan is hosting an Outdoor Living merchandising promotion from March 20 through June 30. The promotion includes deals on a full assortment of indoor/outdoor area rugs and two merchandising display options.

The Without Walls display unit showcases all 14 of Couristan’s weather-resistant area rug collections, gives dealers the ability to fully customize their featured assortment and provides an easy-to-browse shopping destination.

The second merchandising display—Outdoor Living Merchandising Display Box—comes free with a dealer’s initial order of 20 area rugs from the Afuera, Monaco, Dolce, Five Seasons, Recife, Riverside, Tides, Cape and Urbane collections—size requirements apply.

Fabrica
Fabrica will run a spring sales event from mid-April through the end of May. Special pricings on exclusive wool and nylon products will be available for select dealers during the sale period.

Karastan
Karastan is celebrating spring with its National Karastan Month sale, scheduled to run April 20 to June 6. During the sale consumers will receive up to a $1,000 rebate on select Karastan styles. All Karastan retailers are eligible to participate.

Lauzon
Lauzon will run a Pure Genius promotion from April 1 to June 30. The promotion includes $0.45 off per square foot on all Pure Genius products—standard and in option. U.S. retailers as well as Lauzon’s preferred dealers in Canada are eligible.

Masland
Masland will host a spring sales event from mid-April through May for select dealers. The sales event includes special pricings on select wool and nylon products.

Mirage
Mirage is holding its spring 2017 rebate sale from April 3 to May 27. During this promotion consumers get a $0.50 per square foot rebate on Mirage flooring. The offer is valid on all Mirage Classic, Mirage Engineered and Mirage Lock products, regardless of species, color or width. The sale applies to all participating Mirage dealers in North America, excluding Quebec.

Mohawk
Mohawk is hosting two seasonal promotions for its Mohawk aligned retailers. The company’s March into Spring sale started March 1 and will run through the end of the month. During this promotion, consumers will receive up to $500 off select Mohawk carpet or hard surface styles. The sale also offers 12 or 18 months special financing on purchases made with a consumer’s Mohawk credit card.

The second promotion, Love Your Floor sale, will run April 14 through May 30 and includes up to $500 off select SmartStrand Silk styles as well as select Mohawk SolidTech styles. Consumers will be able to take advantage of 50% off promotional items as well as special consumer financing offers.

Raskin Industries
Screen Shot 2017-03-17 at 11.40.57 AMFrom April through June, Raskin Industries is offering a $100 gift certificate for every 1,000 square feet sold residentially to retailers that have either the new Loft or FloorNation display systems.

Shaw
Shaw Floors is hosting an Anniversary Sale to commemorate its 50 years in flooring. The sale will run from April 1 to May 15 and is available to North American Shaw Flooring Network retailers that participate in Shaw Floors’ consumer financing program.

During this sale consumers can save up to $1,000 and receive 24 months of special financing on residential, first quality styles in carpet and hard surfaces. This includes all Anso Nylon, ClearTouch Platinum and Tuftex’ Stainmaster products, as well as Anderson-branded wood and Shaw resilient, hardwood and laminate products.

Retailers will also receive Capture the Spirit reward points and customizable marketing components such as Shaw Web Studio promotional assets.

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Armstrong Flooring to host spring consumer promotion

RSEAKTB75L406_1ALancaster, Pa—This spring Armstrong Flooring will hold its “Bring It Home!” promotion, offering consumers a chance to save up to 10% on select hardwood and resilient flooring collections, including Alterna Engineered Stone, from April 14 through May 31.

Qualifying Armstrong Flooring collections include Alterna and Alterna Reserve Engineered Stone, Prime Harvest Engineered and Solid Hardwood, American Scrape Engineered and Solid Hardwood, TimberBrushed Engineered and Solid, Rustic Restorations Solid Hardwood, Luxe Plank with FasTak Installation LVT, and Vivero Luxury Flooring with Diamond 10 Technology. The purchase must be during the promotion period from a participating Elevate retailer. The maximum discount is $500 in the form of an Armstrong Flooring Visa Prepaid card.

For further information, please contact your Armstrong Flooring sales representative.