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Carpet: Playing at the high end pays big-time dividends

April 16/23, 2018: Volume 33, Issue 22

By Ken Ryan

Carpet mills are taking advantage of the new reality in flooring—with carpet relegated primarily to the bedroom, consumers are willing to spend more to make that soft surface area really stand out.

Indeed, carpet mills are finding that even in a shrinking market for soft surface, there is money to be made by playing at the high end. Some examples:

Anderson Tuftex

Anderson Tuftex had a strong showing at Surfaces. Since then, dealer reception to its new carpet products (Tavares, Tanzania and Heirloom) has been exceptional, according to Katie Ford, director of brand strategy. “The dealer base has been so supportive. If you are a dealer, and you want to make money, you have to have Tavares and Tanzania—and you probably need to have Heirloom, too. You need the whole line, really, because those three styles are distinctly different.”

Ford said there is nothing quite like Tavares in the market—a natural stone visual akin to a Venetian plaster. “It’s just beautiful. We have a rug version of it, too, and we had it installed at Surfaces; it’s everyone’s favorite.”

Tanzania, in denim blue, is offered in a broken Chevron pattern. Like fine wine, it is a product that gets better with age, Ford said. “Chevrons are showing up these days. These patterns are timeless and don’t go out of style.”

Another favorite is Heirloom, with a raised medallion within a small scale textural pattern. “It’s another timeless classic look,” Ford explained. “With AT, you know our products have that little extra craftsmanship to stand out.”

Dixie Group

By virtue of the fact that it is not a low-cost manufacturer, The Dixie Group must create differentiated products to be successful. That’s according to T.M. Nuckols, president, residential division, who cited two new PetProtect products for 2018—Signature and Trademark, which will be launched by Masland in the second quarter. “Also, Bombay Vibration is a remake of a classic Masland product and now made with PetProtect solution dyed nylon 6,6 fiber; it delivers great durability and stain resistance in a softer and more comfortable product.”

The Masland Energy line, coming in May, is a commercial segment offering with 20 well-styled products made with nylon 6,6 for durability and performance. Wholesale price points range from the low teens to mid 20s, “so we are not targeting the typical Main Street price points,” Nuckols said.

Foss Floors

Foss introduced its DuraKnit collection this year featuring a new construction technique for higher-end broadloom that enables the consumer to install an upscale look in tough traffic conditions. According to Brian Warren, executive vice president, sales and marketing, these products will never fray, zipper or unravel, nor will they fade. And while they are stain resistant and will never wrinkle, they still feature a soft hand and luxurious styling, he added.

In 2018, the company introduced its “Carpet Reinvented” DuraKnit display, which includes an interactive storyboard to highlight the line’s unique characteristics. “These innovations are helping the retailer achieve higher margins by providing a unique selling proposition,” Warren said.

Gulistan Floors

John Sheffield, vice president of sales and marketing, Gulistan, said the company is incorporating a very limited distribution strategy to allow dealer partners to maximize their sales and profits. “We have created a unique collection of patterns using our solution-dyed PET. With our Stainmaster offering, we are using the solution-dyed yarns and trying to fill product voids in the with new textures and yarn applications.”

Mohawk

When you talk high end, Karastan is arguably the first brand that comes to mind. Karastan has three premium yarn systems with which to work in developing products. “Having access to wool, SmartStrand Silk and Kashmere Nylon gives us the ability to develop unique looks and textures utilizing the attributes of these yarns,” said Bill Storey, senior vice president, Mohawk and Karastan. “In addition, we also have developed styles using a combination of two yarns. For example, Hampshire Bay has wool as the base yarn and SmartStrand Silk as the accent. The result is an elegant look that cannot be achieved with a single yarn system.”

Karastan’s new soft stone looks—Mackenzie and Berkeley —are standouts. “These styles create the look of natural stone in a luxurious, soft hand,” Storey explained. “This is achieved through our vintage weave process which utilizes SmartStrand Silk, space-dyed yarn.”

Phenix

The Cleaner Home collection is Phenix’s latest in innovative, trend-forward carpet designs. Refuge, Flourish and Well Being are a collection of three new multi-color patterned carpets that utilize innovative cut and loop technology which allows for varying amounts of cut vs. loop.

These products feature a unique combination of colors that become visible at varying points in the construction to create a unique sculpted look with their own dimensional pattern.

Phenix’s Stainmaster PetProtect Design Solutions collection helps sell higher-end products in multiple surfaces by removing one of the biggest pain points for consumers—coordinating their flooring without the help of an interior designer. “It also helps facilitate overall larger tickets and enhanced profit opportunities for the retailer,” said Mark Clayton, president of Phenix Flooring. “We’re bringing hard surface and carpet together in one display and making it easier than ever for a consumer to walk in, visualize her entire home and purchase on the spot.”

Shaw

Shaw Floors continues to burnish its reputation as a leader in innovation with Bellera, a high-performance carpet line. Bellera’s high-design, on-trend offerings include tonals, accents, loops and bold-colored patterns.

“We’ve put Bellera to the test and can say this carpet will look as good in five years as it does on day one,” said Teresa Tran, director of soft surface portfolio management.

Bellera features Shaw’s spill-proof LifeGuard backing, Endurance high-performance fiber and R2X soil and stain resistance. “We’ve listened to the consumer and are proud to offer them the softness of a residential carpet that is durable enough to withstand their active lifestyle.”

Stanton

Stanton’s premise is differentiation. Three brands of note are Antrim, Rosecore and Crescent, which feature unique styling and are merchandised in high-end display systems. Stanton’s Atelier collection offers cut/loop woven nylon patterns provide greater design and color flexibility than the traditional LCL.

“These introductions coupled with our unparalleled use of color, design and multiple yarn types in woven patterns has set new standards,” said Jonathan Cohen, CEO.

Stanton is introducing Stanton Street, Decorative Commercial this summer. This new collection encompasses a mix of carpet tile, planks and decorative commercial broadloom for Stanton’s first dedicated commercial offering.

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Stanton Carpet acquires Hibernia Woolen Mills

Stanton logoSyosset, N.Y.—Stanton Carpet has acquired substantially all assets of Hibernia Woolen Mills, a supplier that services the high-end residential market with well-styled, decorative tufted wool carpets. As part of the deal, Steve Bric, president of Hibernia Woolen Mills, will join Stanton on a long-term consulting basis to provide assistance in product development. He will also continue to help manage the Hibernia sales team.

“We look forward to working with Steve and building on Hibernia’s specialty tufted wool product portfolio,” said Jonathan Cohen, CEO and president, Stanton Carpet.

This new relationship will allow Hibernia to flourish through Stanton’s resources while offering customers more unique products for the decorative tufted wool residential market. Stanton will assume all operational responsibilities and relocate the inventory to Stanton’s new 227,000-square-foot distribution, customer service and fabrication center in Calhoun, Ga. The Hibernia products will continue to be sold through its existing network of sales agents.

Stanton’s internal team will assume Hibernia accounts starting Nov. 13. The company will also resume shipments from Stanton’s Calhoun location at that time.

All orders shipped prior to Nov. 6 belong to Hibernia. Any orders originally placed with Hibernia that did not ship prior to end of the business day Nov. 3 will be assumed by Stanton. All orders—whether open or new—shipped Nov. 6 or later will be billed and payable to Stanton.

The Hibernia deal follows Stanton Carpet’s 2016 purchase of Crescent Carpet Importers, a boutique supplier serving the high-end residential market with patterned and textured carpets with a focus on wool.

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Stanton Carpet makes changes to sales leadership

Screen Shot 2017-10-02 at 4.39.19 PMSyosset, N.Y.—Stanton Carpet has announced three key changes in its sales leadership. Effective immediately, George Forte will transition from vice president of sales to executive development director; Mitch White has been promoted to vice president of sales for Stanton; and Kevin Blaine joins the team as Northeast regional vice president for Stanton and Antrim.

In Forte’s role as executive development director, he will be responsible for all new sales training, follow up training, key accounts, recruiting and special projects among other responsibilities. Forte started as a regional manager in 1998 and was promoted to vice president of sales in 2003. In this post for 14 years, his expertise helped lead Stanton to significant growth and transformation to mostly company sales personnel over this time.

White, as vice president of sales, will be responsible for all sales managers and all sales including Stanton, Antrim, Rosecore and Crescent throughout the U.S. and Canada. White will spearhead all major sales initiatives while managing Stanton’s big picture sales growth. White joined Stanton 11 years ago as Northeast regional sales manager having grown to include a large portion of the east as Eastern regional vice president.

Blaine joins Stanton, succeeding White, with responsibility for 12 salespeople to grow Stanton’s Northeast business. Blaine is a seasoned veteran in decorative carpet and rugs for 30 plus years joining Stanton from his post as Northeast regional sales manager for Kaleen. He has been a top performer in selling and marketing machine woven and tufted broadloom as well as hand-loomed broadloom and rugs.

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Stanton Carpet to highlight new styles at Surfaces

Stanton brand's Rhythm from its Contempt collection.
Stanton brand’s Rhythm from its Contempt collection.

Syosset, N.Y.—Stanton Carpet Corp. will highlight various new styles at Surfaces (Booth 6455). According to the company, the lineup of innovative products will set standards for style, durability, performance and luxury across all four of its brands and the flooring industry.

From its Stanton brand:

  • Cottage collection is made from premium wool and polysilk fibers and consists of three styles: Bungalow, Hillside and Sullivan.
  • Contempo collection boasts a juxtaposition of delustered wool and high luster polysilk and includes Rhythm, Art Deco and Mouveau.
  • The company’s popular Atelier Marquee collection has expanded to include four new nylon carpets: Muse, Brick Lane, Primrose Hill and Parliament Square.

From its Crescent brand:

  • Tailormade collection offers a tailored tweed theme that brings the classic, timeless looks from men’s fashion into the home. It includes three styles: Tattersall, Ticking Stripe and Bentley Tweed.

    Crescent's Tattersall from Tailormade collection.
    Crescent’s Tattersall from Tailormade collection.
  • New to the Brittania collection is Irvine which stands besides the pre-existing popular styles of Prestwick and St. Andrews.

From its Rosecore brand:

  • Privee collection consists of 100% handloomed Tencel fibers in cut pile presentations and includes the styles Perla, Pristine and Soiree.
  • Duplexity collection features Duplexity Dash with Stanton’s Tenlon fiber, a new trademarked fiber.

From its Antrim brand:

  • Horizon features rustic textures achieved through the interplay of thick and thin wool yarns, and offers bold and impressive stripe effects in three neutral colors.
  • Inspired and designed by Mother Nature, Antrim introduces three more hand-loomed styles: Minka, Vitality and Utopia.

 

 

 

 

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Carpet: Style and performance define 2016 intros

November 21/28, 2016: Volume 31, Number 12

By Ken Ryan

Carpet mills ratcheted up their R&D efforts in 2016 like never before to deliver to the market a constellation of compelling products that cover all the important bases: style and design, durability, softness, and stain and pet protection.

Following is a closer look at the some of the top introductions and innovations from 2016:

Beaulieu Group
screen-shot-2016-11-28-at-2-53-20-pmSo Suede and Mulberry have been successful additions to Beaulieu’s Stylish Beauty collection featuring 24 new PermaSoft fiber offerings. These products incorporate Beaulieu’s patented Precision Control Twist (PCT) technology, which creates dimensional color and texture throughout the yarn bundle to produce unique surface characteristics when manufactured. “The art is our ability to combine a variety of fibers with different colors, sizes, lusters and dye abilities which then blend together in varied twist capacities creating a unique face canvas,” said Tom Ellis, chief marketing officer. “We enhance the beauty of the fiber with tuft technology to highlight the organic nature of the stria.”

Ellis noted the organic nature of the technology minimizes the appearance of soil, stain and wear. He said the response to the collection has been “tremendous with So Suede and Mulberry resonating with our customers in a phenomenal way. Our customers have featured this product in all their displays because the consumer acceptance has been so great.”

Two 2016 introductions, Scenic City and Cornerstone, offer what Ellis termed “a sophisticated alternative to what they have seen on the market at an affordable price point.”

Engineered Floors
Bolstered by new introductions in both the commercial and residential markets, 2016 has been a year of unprecedented growth for Engineered Floors.

screen-shot-2016-11-28-at-2-52-42-pmPentz Commercial Flooring Solutions is being marketed as a “bold new day” for Main Street. According to company executives, Pentz promises maximum performance, leading warranties and features, backed by competitive pricing. The three collections, Essentials and Formation (modular) and Prismatic (modular and broadloom), are made with the company’s Encore SD Ultima Nylon with Nexus backing. The products are available via QuickShip.

FlexBac is the first premium backing system offered within the entry-level residential product category. FlexBac is noted for its flexibility and dimensional stability. Another plus is its anti-delamination warranty. “FlexBac has no latex, thus increasing the ease of installation by being lighter, more flexible and softer while saving time, energy and money,” said Mike Sanderson, vice president of product marketing.

Engineered Floors’ Dream Weaver made news with its lifetime pet warranty, which promises “a lifetime of relief for you and your pet.” The distinctive purple shield assures the polyester or nylon carpet is warranted against accidental stains caused by dogs or cats.

Marquis Industries
screen-shot-2016-11-28-at-2-52-51-pmMarquis Industries continues to enjoy success with its soft yarn program, led by Soft Luxury, an 80-ounce solution dyed PET fiber that is the mill’s largest volume producer. The company introduced junior versions of Soft Luxury during the summer, in 60- and 45-ounce weights.

Other new introductions: Natural Wonder, also an 80-ounce weight that incorporates a natural shield stain protection fiber; and Naturally Soft, a 60-ounce product that combines the best colors from other lines. “Soft Luxury is our No. 1 product and has a beautiful finish and luster level,” said Mike Lindberg, executive vice president, Marquis Industries. “Dealers are asking for soft yarn and ours is as soft as anything in the industry.”

Marquis Industries’ secret sauce is its extrusion plant that produces millions of pounds of continuous filament solution-dyed polyester and nylon. These cones of yarn are then processed in a computer-controlled twisting and heat set plant. Every yarn SKU is regulated to ensure products are made to the same high-quality specification every time.

Mohawk
screen-shot-2016-11-28-at-2-52-27-pmSmartStrand Forever Clean, installed in more than 7 million homes and heralded for its durability, stain resistance and comfort, has become an even “smarter” choice for active families with pets. In 2016 Mohawk enhanced this popular carpet with All Pet Protection, a warranty and protection system that covers all pets, all accidents, all the time.

“We continue to build on the success of the incredibly soft and durable SmartStrand fiber we introduced 10 years ago,” said Seth Arnold, Mohawk’s senior director of soft surface brand. “SmartStrand has evolved into SmartStrand Forever Clean, a carpet that employs Nanoloc technology to lock out spills and make the carpet even easier to clean. And now we are introducing the All Pet Protection warranty because we believe SmartStrand Forever Clean carpet can handle all pets, all accidents, all the time.”

SmartStrand Forever Clean carpet has been tested in zoo habitats for animals of all types. While built-in stain and soil protection that never wears or washes off is inherent in the SmartStrand fiber, there is more to the SmartStrand story, according to Arnold. Nanoloc’s advanced spill-resistant shield, he said, is made from nanoparticles that seamlessly lock together, preventing dirt and spills from settling into the carpet. With SmartStrand Forever Clean, soil is released at three times the rate of other carpets, allowing for a carpet that is easier to clean and requires less vacuuming.

SmartStrand Forever Clean has the added advantage that liquids cannot absorb into the fiber. Compared to nylon carpet, which absorbs up to 5% of its weight in liquid, SmartStrand Forever Clean offers 0% absorption—a huge advantage in a family with pets. “For families who want to make sustainable choices for their homes,” Arnold said, “this carpet is made in part with annually renewable plant-based materials that minimize our usage of limited natural resources. It is also the only carpet fiber certified free from harmful substances by Oeko-Tex.”

Phenix
Phenix added three new products to its Stainmaster PetProtect line this month—Lyrical, Poetry and Narrative. These multi-color patterned carpets employ innovative technology that allows for varying pile heights, ensuring each carpet has a unique combination of toned neutrals that come together to create a fresh contemporary palette. All three products feature cut patterns so dogs, cats and other household pets won’t snag their claws on loops and cause pulls.

Shaw Floors
screen-shot-2016-11-28-at-2-52-34-pmShaw continues to develop products featuring its exclusive LifeGuard waterproof backing system, which responds directly to consumers’ need for ease of maintenance combined with the comfort and softness of luxurious carpet. “As we’ve expanded the styles available with LifeGuard—starting with Life Happens, and subsequently with Anso Living—we’ve been able to offer this stylish, high performance product at a variety of price points to meet customers’ purchase decisions,” said Brad Christenson, director of category and product management, Shaw Floors.

Shaw’s research and development teams collaborated to design the waterproof LifeGuard backing system with its R2X stain and soil protection technology built in. This combination works to stop liquid spills and inevitable accidents from reaching the cushion and subfloor, preventing potential odors, wicking and subfloor damage. “LifeGuard successfully elevates our carpet collections making the upgrade a no-brainer for our customers who are searching for the cleanability and durability LifeGuard provides,” Christensen said. “In turn, it provides an easier sales process for our retailers by combining a variety of features into one carpet option they can easily explain and confidently sell, and an innovative, unmatched solutions for their customers’ homes.”

Christensen said LifeGuard has been widely accepted as the go-to product for pet owners and busy families who don’t want the stress of high-maintenance carpet. “With LifeGuard, our retailers have been able to tell their customers that stains and odors can now be 100% removed.”

Shaw plans to deliver more LifeGuard-enabled products to the market in 2017.

Stanton
screen-shot-2016-11-28-at-2-53-14-pmThe newest styles from Stanton’s Atelier Icon collection—part of the hot-selling Stainmaster PetProtect program—are made with nylon 6,6, making it an ideal choice for rooms with heavy traffic.

The abstract designs and neutral colors of Aspire Waterfall and Aspire Concept overlay each other, creating an artistic blend of random shapes and cross hatched patterns accented by tip sheering. According to Stanton, Aspire Network’s all loop trellis design and interlocking shapes merge to create a double-layered effect; Aspire Compass is a multi-edge look, outlined with diamonds.

Other 2016 introductions include the Relax collection, which provides an avant-garde style with vibrant color accents; and Garden of Eden and Centered, which are treated with antique effects to keep these designs modern, abstract and transitional.

Tuftex
Tuftex is known for natural, solution-dyed and barber-pole yarns that combine with the latest tufting technologies to create differentiated products. This was illustrated with Colorpoint, its first cut and loop line.

screen-shot-2016-11-28-at-2-53-07-pmColorpoint technology allows the precise placement of color with the combination of finely controlled yarn feed systems and sophisticated software. “You can get closer to the woven looks yet produced with efficiencies and speed of today’s tufting machines,” said Jim Cusick, director of manufacturing, who explained the cut and loop construction allows for greater diversity of products by blending yarns, densities, texture and construction. “With a finer gauge machine we are able to use softer more luxurious yarns for greater sophistication and still retain superior performance characteristics.”

The first Colorpoint introductions were two-color solution dyed products. This year Tuftex utilized blends of barber poles, natural and over-dyeable yarns to create distinctive, high performance and fashionable looks.

“These Colorpoints are not easy to make but we are committed to respond to the market demand for a new and innovative soft floorcovering product,” Cusick said. Tuftex is able to combine the unique use of yarns with tufting and proprietary dyeing technology to service a full offering of colors and looks that are hard to replicate.

 

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Stanton acquires Crescent Carpet Importers

Jonathan Cohen, CEO of Stanton Carpet.
Jonathan Cohen, CEO of Stanton Carpet.

Long Island, N.Y.—Stanton Carpet, one of the nation’s leading manufacturers and importers of decorative, high-quality branded carpet and custom rugs, has acquired substantially all of the assets of Crescent Carpet Importers. Crescent serves the high-end residential market with patterned and textured carpets with a focus on wool. The announcement was made July 1 by Jonathan Cohen, CEO of Stanton Carpet.

The Crescent brand will operate alongside Stanton’s highly decorative Rosecore umbrella while maintaining its limited distribution strategy and core high-end residential offering. Alan and Adam Feldberg, president and senior vice president of Crescent, respectively, will join Stanton and assume new roles. Alan Feldberg will become the company’s first regional sales manager exclusively for the Crescent and Rosecore brands for the East Coast, reporting to Geoff Siebold, Rosecore’s national sales manager. Adam Feldberg will join Stanton as product development manager and will play a key role in sourcing, buying and overall development across all brands, reporting to Cohen.

This relationship will allow Crescent to flourish through Stanton’s manufacturing and distribution resources while further enhancing Stanton’s successful assortment of decorative offerings to its quality client base. Stanton will assume all operational responsibilities and relocate the inventory to its new 227,000-square-foot distribution, customer service and fabrication center in Calhoun, Ga. Crescent products will continue to be sold through its existing network of sales agents and will show alongside Rosecore at Surfaces 2017.

According to Cohen, “The Crescent Carpet products have a unique position in the very high-end of the market and will be a great complement to Rosecore. We are pleased to have Alan and Adam as part of the Stanton team and maintain the family touch.”

Alan Feldberg added, “This deal will enable Crescent to expedite its growth strategies and thrive with Stanton’s resources. We’ve admired Stanton over the years and look forward to a great future together.”

The acquisition of Crescent by a wholly owned subsidiary of Stanton builds on Stanton’s market position as a leader in the premium carpet niche, utilizing its account base, logistics, product development capabilities and outstanding customer service which have been the platform for growth at the company.

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Stanton launches Feature display

Screen Shot 2015-11-20 at 11.15.12 AMSyosset, N.Y.—Stanton Carpet has launched its first Feature display merchandising system to showcase the best-selling styles from Stanton, Antrim and Rosecore.

The new Feature display allows Stanton customers to customize the products displayed based on their own markets. At 7 feet tall, the display only requires 6.4 square feet of floor space. It is double sided and can hold 28 samples sized at 27 x 18, 56 samples of 13 x 18 or a combination of both.

“There is no better way for our customers to showcase their best-selling or newest Stanton, Antrim and Rosecore products and attract plenty of attention in their showrooms,” said George Forte, Stanton Carpet’s vice president of sales.

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Mills unfurl new products, enthusiasm for 2013

By Louis Iannaco

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

(Second of two parts)

Carpet mills exhibiting at Surfaces 2013 witnessed genuine excitement from attendees resulting from the many new products that were offered as well as their own expectations toward what the rest of the year may bring regarding sales and profits. Attendees found carpet mills offering bolder colors, more textures and patterns, three-dimensional looks and an ever-increasing number of soft products. Continue reading Mills unfurl new products, enthusiasm for 2013

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Stanton revives Atelier brand

by Emily J. Cappiello

Looking to maintain an edge in the market, Stanton kicked off the year by bringing something more upscale and unique to the carpet world. Enter Atelier, Stanton’s largest patterned line to date that prompted it to revive a brand name that hadn’t been used in about a decade.

“We purchased the Atelier brand in 2000 and stopped using the name,” said Jonathon Cohen, Stanton’s COO. But this new, printed carpet line had what it took to strengthen the brand. “We developed this line and needed a name for it, so we decided to bring it back.” Continue reading Stanton revives Atelier brand

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Stanton partners with Norwest Equity Partners

Syosset, N.Y.—Stanton Carpet has announced it has partnered with Minneapolis-based Norwest Equity Partners (NEP), a middle market investment firm with nearly $5 billion in capital under management. NEP has made a majority investment into the company along with substantial investments from Jonathan and Sy Cohen, as well as other management team members.

As part of the deal, Stanton’s team will continue to lead and operate the business from its Syosset, N.Y.- and Calhoun, Ga.-based facilities. NEP has been investing alongside business owners and their management teams for more than 50 years, and Stanton’s affiliation with it is a strategic partnership based on long-term growth plans for the company. Continue reading Stanton partners with Norwest Equity Partners