Floor Covering Weekly

FCW_June 18-25, 2012

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Vol. 61 No. 12 A Hearst Business Publication June 18/25, 2012 $4 19 FLOOR COVERING WEEKLY Southern California [LIVERMORE, CALIF.] J.E. Higgins Lumber Com- pany/Golden State Flooring has closed its branches in San Diego and Santa Ana on June 6, exiting the southern California mar- ket, according to an anonymous source with- in the 129-year-old organization. Luc Robitaille, Mirage's vice president of Higgins Lumber/ Golden State exits Addressing market shifts Armstrong reveals macro trends NeoCon 2012 brings new concepts, designs By Amy Joyce Rush marketing, along with a host of California distributors, retailers and suppliers, con- firmed the closures. "Golden State did close some facilities in the south," he said. "We added Tri-West as a distributor throughout the entire state of Cal- ifornia. So now we have dual Golden State/ Tri-West coverage in the north and Tri-West with singular coverage in the south." The president of another West Coast sup- plier said, "Golden State is all but crippled. There's been an increase of resumes from Golden State employees coming in. All indi- cations point to not a good thing happening there. Which is a shame, because there are some good people there." company still operates 10 locations in California, saying, "It's premature to put a tombstone on their grave, but I think these closures are a sign of what's ultimately go- ing to happen." Another competitor noted that the [Chicago] Commercial fl ooring suppliers delivered targeted concepts and designs at this year's NeoCon show. Th e 44th annual contract trade show played host to more than 43,000 visitors. According to show manage- ment, MMPI, pre-registration for the show was up 9 percent over last year. Calls to Matt Long, president of J.E. Hig- gins/Golden State, have not been returned. According to a source at the organization, Long has been in Southern California over- see ing the closures. FCW Mark Falanga, president of MMPI, which manages the Merchandise Mart, said that the contract industry weathered the economic storm well. "Th e last four years have been very telling. When you've been hammered for four going on fi ve years now and the market contin- ues to develop new product, it has staying power. Product drives business," he said, adding, "Th e fl ooring industry leads the way in sustainability and unique and interesting designs." Noted Steve Arbaugh, vice president, Interface, "Th ere is a movement to open up spaces for green and the environment. Th e question we're asking is, how do we bring those spaces into where we work and play?" Th e answer is a collection of carpet tile called Urban Retreat which extends the company's environmental commitment globally with global manufacturing across four continents. Th e other notable trend is pattern and tex- 4 Mannington's Zack Zehner, Jack Ganley and Russell Grizzle turing where the company's Walk the Plank collection of carpet planks gives designers opportunities to create unique installations. Suppliers that off er the A&D community a diverse product portfolio including both hard and soſt surfaces are well positioned for growth. "Th e market is still not all that robust. Th e fact that we're in so many diff erent product categories helps," said Jack Ganley, president of Mannington Commercial. Mannington's off er- ings include resilient, luxury vinyl tile (LVT), carpet tile, porcelain, rubber and wood. Man- nington's Vivendi Collection of carpet tile won this year's NeoCon Gold for the Healthcare Flooring category. Mannington's recent purchase of Amtico gives the company domestic LVT manufac- turing that will support its service. "LVT is just hot. We will be able to manufacture there in the next month or so — we'll get the top sellers in there fi rst. We'll be able to better meet the customer's demand for quick lead times," said Russell Grizzle, CEO, Mannington Mills. Mohawk also showed how its hard and soſt surfaces mix well together to meet commercial Continued on page 3 Kelley gives Kronotex fresh start George Kelley [Barnwell, S.C.] George Kelley, who served as Pergo president and CEO from 2007 to 2010, has joined Kronotex USA in that same capacity eff ective July 1. Kronotex USA, based here, announced the retire- ment of outgoing president For breaking news updated each business day, visit us online at www.fcw1.com and CEO Norman Voss on June 1. "I kept up with the laminate fl ooring industry over the years and I still think lami- nate has a lot of viability in the marketplace," said Kelley. "Consumers want a variety of choices and laminate off ers just that from products at the very low end of the price scale all the way up to premium and everything in-between." Kelley's reign at Pergo was hampered right from the start because of the company's inability to manage channel confl ict; fi nan- cial diffi culties at German parent Pfl eiderer, which declared bankruptcy aſt er acquiring Pergo for $400 million in 2007; and, the eco- nomic downturn. But Kronotex, he said, is poised for market growth. Category sales are rebounding and the company has the world's most modern laminate fl oor press and a parent company that is fi nancially stable and willing to invest. "One of the biggest things that drew me to this opportunity is that the Krono Group is not afraid to invest," said Kelley. "Th e new $45 million line that was just added at Barn- well is state of the art. It has a wide range of Continued on page 16 Periodical

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