July 3/10: Volume 32, Issue 2
By K.J. Quinn
The West Coast has earned a reputation over the years for being at the forefront of carpet styling. Tuftex, Shaw Floors’ premier residential brand, is among the California mills taking the lead creating fashionable designs based on regional preferences and trends.
“Being on the West Coast gives them an edge for us, not only because they are local but also because they are constantly getting feedback from local designers and retailers on trends, colors, etc.,” said Dan Mandel, co-owner, Sterling Carpet and Flooring, Anaheim, Calif. “They are our biggest cut order mill by far.”
A key distinction is the Los Angeles-based mill’s innovative carpet styles, retailers say. “Tuftex offers a great color selection with a high emphasis on trending style and design,” said Deb DeGraaf, owner, DeGraaf Interiors, Grand Rapids, Mich. “Their location on the West Coast keeps them on the edge of style.” Earlier this year, Tuftex launched 13 eye-catching introductions to its Signature collection—from high-end textures and elegant patterns to exotic cables and shags—drawn on West Coast inspiration.
The mill’s unique brand personality stands out from other carpet collections based on its West Coast influence. For instance, part of the color schemes and designs are influenced by the surrounding environment where Tuftex is located, an area featuring great weather, plus desert, ocean, mountains and an outdoor lifestyle. “Tuftex is always on the cutting edge of fashion and design,” Mandel said. “They are not just a mill to me; they’re an innovator.”
Indeed, Tuftex has created its own segment in the marketplace, offering designs that bring color, warmth and fashion to the home. “I have had the pleasure of spending time at the mill on three different occasions,” noted Steve Weisberg, president, Crest Flooring, Allentown, Pa. “And each time I came away with the feeling these people truly care about what they’re doing and how they go about creating art for the floor.”
Tuftex retailers also like the fact the manufacturer provides a wide array of trendy patterns and colors for consumers shopping for something different. “We are from Michigan and sometimes the trends take a bit longer to grab hold,” DeGraaf pointed out. “But Tuftex makes sure we have great options for our clients who want to get a jump on things.”
Tuftex continues to make investments to help retail customers grow their carpet business. “They help make us money by consistently helping us drive business day in, day out,” Mandel said. “Not only do they come up with proven plans to steer consumers to their product, but they are in front of our RSAs all the time showing the features and benefits of why their product stands out above the rest.”
DeGraaf agreed, adding, “The extensive number of patterns at various price points allows us to choose stock rolls for every budget, giving the customer a great value while also enabling us to make a healthy margin.”
Indeed, Tuftex is committed to providing excellence in quality, design, service and value. “As part of Shaw Industries, Tuftex provides quality carpet and outstanding service,” said Sam Levine, CEO, G. Fried Carpet, Paramus, N.J. “And because of the integrity of the company, our customers get a quality product.”
Dealers also report Tuftex backs its products with an array of support and point-of-sale services. “Buying stock of their products gives us leverage over cut orders,” noted Todd Wheeler, owner, Wheeler’s Flooring, Salinas, Calif. “Also, their semi-annual promotions and the fact they produce quality products at a fair and competitive price.”
These and other services are designed to help dealers maintain a competitive edge. “Many of their products are unique and, therefore, allow for more margin,” Crest Flooring’s Weisberg said. “Their newer displays really generate interest in the product and create the boutique feel that I believe people are drawn to in the showroom.”