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William M. Bird launches Hearthwood program

Charleston, S.C.—William M. Bird brings the Hearthwood flooring line to its customers throughout the Southeast. In support of the launch, William M. Bird will provide merchandising, marketing materials and product knowledge training to its customers. The American-made, premium hardwood flooring brand is the seventh new product line the company has launched since March 2018.

The Hearthwood collection comprises beautiful, responsible and enduring engineered hardwoods all made at American OEM’s facility outside of Nashville from 100% American hardwoods. Hearthwood is rooted in a four-generation legacy started by Andy Anderson, the inventor of the American engineered wood floor in the 1940s, continued by Bob Anderson, the founder of Anderson Hardwood, and furthered by Don Finkell, who began Cumberland Products Group. Allie Finkell, executive vice president, American OEM, developed the Hearthwood brand as a way to honor her legacy in a fresh approach for future generations. Hearthwood is committed to making quality hardwood floors from American raw materials, as well as has a strong focus on environmental and social sustainability.

“We are very proud to partner with Hearthwood,” said Maybank Hagood, CEO of William M. Bird. “Their family legacy in the flooring industry and deep history truly resonated with us. We are excited to introduce this new brand in the Southeast. We know our customers will appreciate the high quality, craftsmanship and modern design of the Hearthwood collections.”

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Hearthwood Distribution Group partners with William M. Bird

Burns, Tenn.—American OEM has expanded the Hearthwood distribution group to Charleston, S.C.-based William M. Bird. This is the latest distributor to bring on the company’s brand, serving the Southeast market beginning in June.

William M. Bird has a long legacy of excellence and integrity since their founding in 1865. “We are proud to partner with a company that, like Hearthwood, has such deep roots in the industry,” said Randy Schrecengost, vice president of sales, American OEM. “The Bird company values of fair play, hard work, and caring for customers and employees makes them an ideal distributor of the Hearthwood products.”

The Hearthwood collection is comprised of 24 enduring engineered hardwoods, made at the American OEM facility outside of Nashville, from 100% American hardwoods. The company’s flagship brand continues the four-generation legacy started by Andy Anderson, the inventor of the American engineered wood floor, in the 1940s.

“Hearthwood is a way to honor our family’s 70-plus year history in the wood business,” said Allie Finkell, executive vice president, American OEM. “It leverages the vast experience of our past but is packaged in a modern way that appeals to a younger, predominately female demographic. It’s an honor to partner with William M. Bird.”

To inquire about Hearthwood products or distribution coverage, contact Allie Finkell at allie@hearthwoodfloors.com.

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William M. Bird partners with Beauflor

Charleston, S.C.—William M. Bird will partner with Beauflor to distribute the manufacturer’s brand of residential and commercial vinyl flooring in the Southeast. The new product offering will be available throughout William M. Bird’s entire territory including Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee and the Florida panhandle.

“We are proud to partner with Beauflor and align with a manufacturing company that shares our vision and values,” said Maybank Hagood, CEO of William M. Bird. “We are very excited to offer our customers high quality, beautifully designed and profitable new options in vinyl flooring. Our entire team is very impressed with the Beauflor line and we are confident our customers will be as well.”

In support of the new product launch, William M. Bird will provide merchandising, marketing materials and product knowledge training to its customers. Beauflor is the first of many new partnerships that William M. Bird will be announcing over the next few weeks.

For more information, visit wmbird.com.

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Armstrong severs ties with William M. Bird

February 5/12, 2018: Volume 33, Issue 17

By Ken Ryan

 

Lancaster, Pa.—Armstrong Flooring has ended its partnership with Southeast distributor William M. Bird, a relationship that dates to 1936 when Bird began distributing Armstrong floor coverings and building materials as its entree into flooring distribution.

“Ending an 82-year relationship is not something you ever expect; however, William M. Bird is prepared and positioned to handle this transition,” Maybank Hagood, CEO, told FCNews.

Hagood said its house brand products, including Palmetto Road and Azalea Lane, as well as its portfolio of branded lines like Roppe, Metroflor, Tarkett and Somerset, will provide the wholesaler with the flexibility to bring new products to Bird customers “that provide the highest level of value and quality in wood, LVT, WPC, rigid core and laminate products. Our core values as a company have always driven our decision-making and how we partner with our customers with the right products. That will not change at all. We have always been committed to an exceptional salesforce, cutting-edge technologies via our online tools and dynamic warehousing and logistics to assure our customers that when they call us they will be served by a team driven to help our customers succeed.”

Hagood said it is “probably premature at this point” to comment about any potential future partnerships. However, he did note, “We have had some great conversations in the last couple of weeks and we look forward to finalizing and announcing soon the next generation of brands that will help serve to define William M. Bird for the future.”

Hagood put a positive spin on the separation with Armstrong—its longest-standing supplier—saying, “a change like this will allow us to deepen our existing strategic partnerships and continue our mission to deliver the right products and services, to the right customer, at the right time.”

In light of the Bird changes, Armstrong will expand the territories of three of its existing distributors as part of its strategy to improve service to retailers.

The changes, which will become effective April 1, 2018, are as follows:

  • J.J. Haines, which handles the Mid-Atlantic region, will now also serve the Southeastern U.S., including parts of South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee and the Florida panhandle.
  • Derr Flooring, which also covers the Mid-Atlantic region, will begin serving parts of northern Virginia with the Bruce brand in a dual-distribution capacity with J.J. Haines.
  • Ohio Valley Flooring, which services Indiana, Ohio and Kentucky, will expand into western Pennsylvania.

“We are committed to aligning ourselves with the distribution partners that are best positioned to support our growth strategy,” said Don Maier, Armstrong Flooring president and CEO. “We are excited by J.J. Haines’ ongoing investments in distribution infrastructure and logistics technology, and the level of service and responsiveness it can bring to the independent retailers who sell Armstrong products. We are equally pleased to reward the exceptional performance and service that Ohio Valley and Derr Flooring deliver for us every day.”

Maier also addressed the separation from William M. Bird. “We value their role in our company’s development over the years and the service they have provided to customers. We look forward to working with our distributor partners over the next few months to ensure a smooth transition.”

Empowering distributors

In a separate announcement, Armstrong said it is empowering its distributors with increased responsibility for marketing, merchandising and sales of its residential flooring products, focusing resources to drive growth with national retail and commercial customers.

“Since we launched Armstrong Flooring as an independent company in 2016, one of our core objectives has been winning with distribution—to grow sales and market share by rebuilding and leveraging our distributor relationships,” Maier explained. “We’ve made tremendous progress to further enhance these partnerships, and we are confident we are working with distributors who can most effectively advance our growth strategy.”

Shifting elements of its residential marketing and merchandising responsibilities to its distributors, Maier explained, is intended to increase efficiency, move decision-making closer to the customer and improve speed-to-market. As distributors take on additional responsibilities, the company plans to increase investments in national retail and commercial accounts, specifiers, architects, designers and contractors.

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William M. Bird: A preferred partner for 152 years

The following feature is the eighth installment in a series highlighting the 14 distributors that constitute Bravo Services, a group comprising many of the top flooring wholesalers in the country. Here we focus on William M. Bird.

July 31/Aug. 7: Volume 31, Issue 4

Screen Shot 2017-08-07 at 11.41.53 AMHeadquartered in Charleston, S.C., William M. Bird has been delivering the goods since 1865. The company’s first product was whale oil, but soon expanded into paint, glass, and hardware supplies. In 1936, Bird began distributing Armstrong floor coverings and by the 1980s made flooring its single focus. Today, William M. Bird is one of the leading flooring distributors in the Southeast and mid-Atlantic with 10 branch locations in nine states.

One way the company strives to separate itself from competitors is through advanced online marketing and services. More than 50% of customers actively use WM Bird Online to place orders. “We also differentiate by the products we provide our customers,” said Maybank Hagood, CEO. “We purposefully partner with manufacturers Screen Shot 2017-08-07 at 11.41.48 AMwho are aligned with our company’s vision, mission and core values.” Hagood believes the corporate values set them apart. He continued, “Our No. 1 value is ‘We care about each other.’   Our simple view is how will we ever care for our customers if we don’t start with caring for each other?”

Looking ahead, Bird is going through a transition phase. As Hagood explained, “Three years ago, more than 50% of our sales reps were within 10 years from retirement age. We need to work diligently to transition to the next generation. Consequently, we work closely with each associate to understand personal career goals and timing. With that in mind, we are hiring new associates, at the right time, to effectively pass the baton.”

Going above and beyond
From the time an order is placed to the point when it is delivered, Bird’s entire team is dedicated to going the extra mile. If it is past the delivery cut off, it is not uncommon for Bird’s sales reps to personally drive a sample or an order to ensure customers have what they need in a timely fashion. For example, when a hurricane barreled down on Charleston last fall, a team of customer service reps traveled to Atlanta to set up and take calls.

Nuts & Bolts
Geographic coverage: Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Tennessee, Alabama and the Florida Panhandle.
Brands: Armstrong Flooring, Aspecta, Azalea Lane, Bostik, Bruce, East Bay Supply Co., HomerWood, Johnsonite, Metroflor, Palmetto Road, Protect-All, Roberts, Roppe, Schönox, Stauf, Tarkett, Ultimate RB and XL Brands.

For more information on William M. Bird, call 843.744.8289 or visit wmbird.com. For more information on Bravo Services, contact John Carney at 214.215.2880 or visit bravoservices.com.

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FCNews’ annual top 20 flooring distributors

 Distributors emerging from economic stronger, more relevant than ever

By Ken Ryan

Oct. 21/28 2013; Volume 27/number 13

Screen Shot 2013-10-25 at 4.47.45 PMDistributors. They are the backbone of the industry, the group on which manufacturers rely for moving their products to the point of sale. It is a segment that faces as many challenges as any and works on razor-thin margins.

Still, the good ones have not only succeeded but thrived. In fact, most project growth of 5% to 15% in 2013, driven in part by a housing comeback, both remodeling and new construction.

FCNews’ annual top 20 distributor listing not only looks at the industry’s leaders but also reveals the 10 highest-volume wholesalers in the resilient, wood and laminate categories. In most cases, the information was obtained from the respective high-level executives. Continue reading FCNews’ annual top 20 flooring distributors