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Install to open new Texas training center

Glassboro, N.J.—Install is preparing to host the grand opening of its new Texas Carpenters and Millwrights Training Center in Pasadena, Texas. From safety and technical skills to communication and leadership skills, instructors will train professional carpenters and millwrights to be productive, safe and demonstrate leadership on the job site.

Due to significant growth in the Houston metropolitan region, the training center recently moved to the new 52,000 square-foot facility in the nearby suburb of Pasadena. With six full-time instructors, eight classrooms and significantly more space for hands-on learning opportunities, the center will be home to 485 apprentices.

The training available includes curriculum from Install, the International Standards and Training Alliance. As the floor covering industry’s most endorsed and specified training program, the organization leverages long-standing manufacturer partnerships to bring together in-depth product expertise.

“With the opening of this state-of-the art training center, the Central South Carpenters Regional Council (CSCRC) intends to provide the flooring industry throughout the gulf coast region with skilled, qualified, floor covering professionals,” said Craig Wright, chief of staff, CSCRC. “This venture will only be possible through collaborative partnerships with Install contractors.”

Industry professionals, media and other interested individuals are invited to join Install April 3, from 5-8 p.m. to celebrate. Festivities will include live floor covering, carpenter and millwright demonstrations, a dedication ceremony, VIPs, food, special surprises and more.

For more information and to RSVP visit: ubctexastraining.com/GrandOpening.

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Mannington Mills provides continued support for hurricane relief efforts

Screen Shot 2017-10-03 at 10.00.07 AMSalem N.J.—Mannington continues to find ways to reach out and help residents struggling to return to normal life in hurricane-ravaged areas of the United States. Last week, the company sent a $25,000 donation to Samaritan’s Purse, a nondenominational Christian organization that has been providing spiritual and physical aid to people around the world since 1970.

The donation is earmarked for hurricane relief and will help those in need in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico. The organization last week was able to reach 1,200 households in Puerto Rico to provide plastic shelters, blankets and hygiene kits.

“In times like these, it’s our responsibility to step up and help those in need,” said Keith Campbell, chairman of the board. “Mannington has always talked about caring for others and this is just one of the ways we are able to put those words into action.”

Over the past month, Mannington associates contributed $13,000 to the American Red Cross, which Mannington matched for a total of $26,000. The company also has plans to donate flooring for the rebuilding efforts in those areas.

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Patcraft starts Red Cross donation program for Hurricane Harvey relief

Screen Shot 2017-09-14 at 11.58.11 AMCartersville, Ga.Patcraft, working in conjunction with its parent company, Shaw, has established a donation program to benefit Hurricane Harvey relief efforts led by the Red Cross. Over the next 90 days, the company will donate 2% of every sale of product shipped to Texas to the humanitarian organization. This donation program was designed to provide support to the affected areas and began with purchases made on Sept. 4. Patcraft is currently exploring opportunities to support Hurricane Irma relief efforts as well.

“Our Patcraft team has been shocked by the Hurricane Harvey devastation and we feel strongly that our company has an opportunity and duty to give back where it is needed most,” said Jeff West, vice president of marketing. “Through this donation program, our customers and our team will support the Red Cross as the city works to rebuild, uplift and provide safe havens for thousands of children, parents, grandparents and friends who need help.”

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Swiff-Train supports Hurricane Harvey relief efforts

Swiff-Train_TexasStrongGraphicHouston—Swiff-Train announced it is providing relief for Hurricane Harvey victims. The Texas-based company had three of its distribution centers endure the hurricane. Despite extensive damage to employees’ homes and property, all personnel are safe and distribution operations are back to normal.

In addition to rallying company team members from all over Texas to help in multiple aspects, Swiff-Train has established a YouCaring fundraising account to raise funds for the recovery efforts. To donate, visit youcaring.com/swifftraincompany-930868.

Swiff-Train has also created product, display and showroom floor promotions to assist its customers with showrooms needs.

“The tremendous support from our business partners and vendors has been instrumental in our non-stop efforts to meet the supply demands,” said Shane Calloway, vice president of sales. “Swiff-Train is dedicated to supporting the storm victims through inventory, merchandising and teamwork.”

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Armstrong pledges to donate flooring for disaster recovery efforts

Armstrong Logo 2016Lancaster, Pa.—Armstrong Flooring has pledged to donate 250,000 square feet of flooring to support rebuilding efforts after Hurricane Harvey and other natural disasters. The company will contribute flooring through a new partnership established with Good360—a nonprofit that matches product donations with community organizations, many of which are engaged in disaster recovery in local communities.

“Our hearts go out to the families and communities that were devastated by Hurricane Harvey and the flooding it unleashed,” said Don Maier, CEO, Armstrong Flooring. “Launching this new program with Good360 enables us to provide flooring to help rebuild communities. Through this effort, we can focus on helping those who are most vulnerable to begin the recovery process and restore their homes.”

The flooring donated through Good360 will be provided to nonprofit organizations, including those helping with rebuilding efforts after disasters. Good360 provides products for all stages of disaster recovery and works with its on-the-ground nonprofit partners to assess needs and respond accordingly.

“Good360 is extremely pleased to be partnering with Armstrong Flooring to assist with the long-term recovery of Texas and Louisiana from Hurricane Harvey,” said Richard Barney, executive vice president of partnerships for Good360. “While disasters only remain in the public eye for a few days or weeks, the recovery process for an event as devastating as this will take several years. Armstrong Flooring and Good360 are committed to helping this region recover long after Harvey has disappeared from the evening news.”

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Mohawk, Nature’s Big Springs Water partner to help Houston

Screen Shot 2017-09-05 at 10.14.01 AMCalhoun, Ga.—Mohawk Industries and Nature’s Big Springs Water have partnered to offer a helping hand to those affected by Hurricane Harvey. The two local companies teamed up to donate and deliver more than 100,000 bottles of water to the Houston area. They split the cost of the water and will leverage Mohawk’s fleet to make the delivery once the roads are passable.

“When we saw the devastation the hurricane caused, we knew we wanted to help, and we also knew we had the means to do so with our trucks,” said Dan Flowers, vice president of logistics, Mohawk. “Each month, Mohawk trucks travel more than a million miles transporting products across the country. Even though Mohawk is headquartered in Calhoun, our drivers have many strong connections to communities throughout the United States where they have built relationships with customers and suppliers. That’s true in Houston, where we operate a satellite warehouse and our ceramic division operates several sales service centers. Thanks to our partnership with Nature’s Big Spring Water, we were able to make a difference.”

This is the second time Mohawk and Nature’s Big Springs Water have partnered to provide disaster relief.

“It’s not every day you see two locally-based companies come together and help people in need half way across the country,” said Julian Jones, owner, Nature’s Big Springs Water. “Being in the water business means we have access to an essential relief item when a disaster occurs. Mohawk had the trucks and resources to make this delivery a possibility. Helping others is important to us and we were glad to partner with Mohawk to make this happen.”

Mohawk employs approximately 130 people in the Houston area—all of whom have been identified as safe and sheltered, although some of their homes have been severely compromised. In addition to the water delivery, the company will provide additional assistance to employees affected by the hurricane.

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Hurricane Harvey disrupts Houston’s flooring businesses

By Ken Ryan

Screen Shot 2017-08-30 at 1.09.27 PMHurricane Harvey’s catastrophic tear through southeast Texas turned Houston into a life-threatening flood zone with a record-breaking rainfall, shutting down most commerce, including flooring businesses. The immediate impact on the industry is palpable as Houston is home to three top 20 flooring distributors and a major 10-store retail chain.

For Houston-based wholesalers T&L Distributing, Reader’s Wholesale and Swiff-Train Co., as well as Roberts Carpet & Fine Floors, the immediate concern was accounting for the safety of their employees and family members. Jonathan Train, president and CEO of Swiff-Train, told FCNews the company’s Houston facility is threatened with more flooding, but he feels it should not be affected. “Houston remains closed; all other locations are up and running. We have a lot to do over the next several days to get back to normal working conditions.”

In the immediate aftermath of the hurricane and subsequent flooring, Train penned a letter to customers, vendors and business partners stating many of its employees lost power and suffered significant property damage, and many evacuated the area. Fortunately, he said, all workers have been accounted for and are safe. The road ahead, however, will be long.

“There is more to come and it will take days and weeks to assess the damage. Conditions are changing every hour so we all have to stay vigilant.”

At T&L Distributing, offices were understandably closed. Bob Eady, president, assessed the safety of his staff. “At this time we have only one employee that I am aware of that has been flooded,” he told FCNews. “We had an employee who made it to our facility Monday morning and sent some beautiful pictures of it being high and dry, thank God. The building just to the south of us was completely flooded at their docks.”

Reader’s Wholesale, a member of the 14-distributor Bravo Services Group, reported that all was well in their neck of the woods. But just to be cautious, the operation will remain closed for the week. Should circumstances change, Reader’s said it can rely on its Bravo members. “Bravo is a tight group,” said John Carney, executive director. “I’m sure if Reader’s does end up needing something it would have unlimited resources at their fingertips.”

John Sher, president of Adleta, in Carrollton, Texas, near Dallas, related that the sister of one of Adleta’s sales managers had to be rescued off the roof of her home by canoe. “It is very bad down there. We have offered to do anything we can to help Lucky and Adam Burke at Reader’s. Right now they are just hanging tight.”

Compounding the problem for distributors is the fact many roads are damaged or flooded, making routes treacherous or in some cases altogether impassible. At press time, several major highways—including some sections of I-10 in Texas—were under water.

The situation is equally troubling for retailers. Roberts Carpet & Fine Floors has 10 stores scattered about the Houston market. As of Aug. 29—just two days after the storm rolled in—Sam Roberts, owner, said he was still awaiting word on his businesses. “Believe it or not it’s still too early to get a good accounting on everything. Hardly anything in the city is open. I don’t know how many of our employees have flooded homes. We still haven’t gotten to a couple of our stores. Even for stores that didn’t flood there will probably be some power, phone and Internet outages.”

Roberts expects to reopen for business as soon as the staff can get to the stores. “We can work through minor damage,” he told FCNews. “It is also worth pointing out that large areas have no or intermittent power. We can’t operate if the stores don’t have electricity. We can’t get to our main office and distribution center so it is impossible to send any out installation crews at present—even if it weren’t raining.”

Massive scale
The natural disaster that was Hurricane Harvey is likely to turn into an economic disaster as well, with early estimates of the damage exceeding $30 billion. That would make Harvey one of the 10 most damaging hurricanes on record. In fact, it has already set a record for most rainfall—50-plus inches—from a tropical system in the continental U.S. According to Planalytics, which provides weather analytics for businesses, lost revenue to area restaurants and retailers alone is expected to reach $1 billion.

While those directly affected say the impact of the event will likely play out over the course of the coming months, if not years, many remain hopeful and optimistic the city will ultimately recover. Roberts, for instance, looked on the bright side, saying the situation could be much worse. “What if all 10 stores had 2 feet of water inside? Roberts Carpet & Fine Floors may yet emerge relatively unscathed. We’ll have to wait and see.”

T&L Distributing’s Eady added, “We are in uncharted territory logistically, but we will get through this and T&L will be stronger because of this.”

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Emser Tile opens new branch in Houston

Emser LogoLos Angeles—Emser Tile has opened its 72nd branch in North America. The new location marks its fourth branch in Houston and 10th in Texas.

Emser has experienced exponential growth in the Houston market throughout the last 14 years. The company adds a fourth location to strategically position itself in all four quadrants of the metropolitan area as well as contribute new jobs to the southeast Houston economy.

“We are honored to be able to further service our growing customer base in southeast Houston,” said Barbara Haaksma, vice president of marketing for Emser Tile. “This fourth location allows us to expand our unparalleled customer service and provide robust support for the thriving Houston community.”

Headquartered in Los Angeles, Emser celebrates its 50th anniversary of providing tile and natural stone products next year. The company continues to grow its presence throughout North America, expanding its footprint and customer service efforts across the West, Midwest and East Coast regions.

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CFI’s accelerated carpet Installation training classes filling up

cfi installersDallas–Retailers and students across the country are contacting and booking seats for the International Certified Floor Covering Installers (CFI) exclusive accelerated carpet installation class, the association announced.

To accommodate demand and access to the class, CFI will be offering two options for the next class which will start on May 16th–one class will be available at the CFI training facility in Forney, Texas, and another will run in the WFCA office building in Anaheim, Calif.

“We hit the ground running with our training facility in Forney, and since March we have been turning out certified graduates ready to begin work immediately,” said Robert Varden, vice president, CFI. “This expansion has been a part of our plan. The facility in Anaheim offers the same level of accredited professional instructors, latest equipment, tools and products that are available at the Texas based school, as well as a vast space for training.”