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Wickham enters distributor deal with Abraham Linc

screen-shot-2016-11-17-at-11-55-17-amQuebec, Canada—Wickham Hardwood Flooring has partnered with Abraham Linc to distribute and market the Wickham brand of products in the Mid-Atlantic region.

Established in 1988, Abraham Linc is a full line distributor of floor covering products serving West Virginia, Virginia, Maryland, D.C., Pennsylvania, Delaware, South Jersey, and portions of Ohio and Kentucky. Abraham Linc is headquartered in Bridgeport, W.Va., with additional warehouse facilities in Baltimore, Maryland and Waynesboro, Va.

“We are very pleased to be partnered with such a reputable, established organization,” said Jean-Pierre Nittolo, president for Wickham Hardwood Flooring. “Their management and sales team will do a great job representing our products in the Mid-Atlantic region.”

abrahamDarren F. Abraham, president and CEO of Abraham Linc, is also looking forward to the partnership. “We’re in the inventory business and perform logistical services for manufacturers in the Mid-Atlantic,” he said. “Our entire team is excited to partner with Wickham and offer this line to our customers. The high quality of the products, fashion forward colors and design, combined with our commitment to inventory, delivery and sales support gives our dealers an exciting new line.”

For more information contact Paul Rezuke, vice president of U.S. sales for Wickham Hardwood, at 508-954-2221, or Terry Warne, executive vice president of Abraham Linc at 800-359-5260.

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EarthWerks expands with Abraham Linc

FCNews Volume 27/Number 12, October 22/29, 2012

HOUSTON—Thanks to distributor Abraham Linc’s expansion into Virgina, Maryland and Delaware, EarthWerks luxury vinyl plank and tile is now available in these markets. “We’ve had a great relationship with Abraham Linc for many years,” said Amy Sadler, EarthWerks’ national sales manager, “and look forward to having our full line represented.” Continue reading EarthWerks expands with Abraham Linc

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NAFCD introduces 2019 officers, board members

Chicago—The North American Association of Floor Covering Distributors (NAFCD) has announced the organization's board of directors for 2019. The NAFCD board comprises industry executives from both distributor and supplier member firms that handle all types of floor covering materials, related products and accessories.

"We are excited to see where this strong volunteer leadership team will take NAFCD in 2019," said Kevin Gammonley, executive vice president, NAFCD. "I am confident that this year's board of directors will continue to enhance NAFCD's membership value and overall mission."

The 2019 NAFCD board of directors include:

Executive officers: president—Steve McKenna, McKenna Distribution Ltd., Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada; president-elect—Dunn Rasbury, A&M Supply, Marietta, Ga.; vice president—Shane Richmond, Fishman Flooring Solutions, Baltimore, Md.; treasurer—Geoff Work, The R.A. Siegel Co., Mableton, Ga.; and immediate past president—David Powell, Erickson's Flooring & Supply Co., Ferndale, Mich.

Distributor directors: David Schmelzer, Lanham Hardwood, Louisville, Ky.; Kyle Gorny, Blakely Products, Warren, Mich.; AJ Warne, Abraham Linc, Bridgeport, W.Va.; Sven Johnson, Taiga Building Products, Calgary, Alberta, Canada; and Dori J. Blitzstein, Roesel-Heck Company, Inc., Baltimore, Md.

Supplier directors: Russ Rogg, Metroflor Corp., Norwalk, Conn.; Joe Cavanaugh, Tarkett, Salon, Ohio; Mike Croes, Sika USA, Lyndhurst, N.J.; Mark Johnson, Traxx Corporation, Pomona, Calif.; Dave Wallace, Precision Flooring Products, Morristown, Tenn.; and Jim Nielsen, FloorSource, Lafayette, Ga.

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NAFCD announces 2018 officers, board members

Chicago—The North American Association of Floor Covering Distributors (NAFCD) has announced the organization’s board of directors for 2018. The NAFCD board is comprises industry executives from both distributor and supplier member firms that handle all types of floor covering materials, related products and accessories.

The 2018 NAFCD board of directors includes: David Powell (president), Erickson’s Flooring & Supply, Ferndale, Mich.; Steve McKenna (president-elect), McKenna Distribution, Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada; Geoff Work (treasurer), The R.A. Siegel Co., Mableton, Ga.; and Heidi Cronin (immediate past president), The Cronin Co., Portland, Ore.

Distributor directors include: Sven Johnson, Taiga Building Products, Calgary, Alberta, Canada; Dunn Rasbury, A&M Supply, Maretta, Ga.; Shane Richmond, Fishman Flooring Solutions, Baltimore, Md.; David Schmelzer, Lanham Hardwood, Louisville, Ky.; and AJ Warne, Abraham Linc, Bridgeport, W.Va.

Supplier directors include: Joe Cavanaugh, Tarkett, Salon, Ohio; Mike Croes, Sika USA, Lyndhurst, N.J.; Mark Johnson, Traxx Corp., Pomona, Calif.; Russ Rogg, Metro Floors, Norwalk, Conn.; Rich Willett, United States Gypsum Co., Chicago; and Zack Zehner, Mannington, Salem, N.J.

“We are excited to kick off the new year with such a strong volunteer leadership team,” said Kevin Gammonley, NAFCD executive vice president. “I am confident that this year’s board of directors will positively impact NAFCD’s mission and help to continue the positive momentum NAFCD is experiencing in membership growth, convention participation and value creation for our members.”

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Hemisphere Imports’ not-so-secret weapon

September 11/18, 2017: Volume 32, Issue 7

By Reginald Tucker

 

Screen Shot 2017-09-15 at 3.41.22 PMFirst-time visitors to the Hemisphere Imports booth space at the recent CCA Global Partners convention (FCNews, Aug. 14/21) found out firsthand what all the fuss was about. The focus was on a unique species called kupay, a durable, dense hardwood sourced from Paraguay. While it might not be easy to pronounce (it’s also known by its genus name, “copaifera”), the allure is crystal clear.

“It’s a unique species with a look and coloration you cannot get in China,” said Hemisphere Imports president Tom Karol. “It provides an opportunity to sell the features and benefits of the product and sell up instead of down. It’s the only product in Paraguay that’s FSC certified, and it has this unique look and is very durable.”

The primary goal, according to Karol, is to bring innovation and unique styling to the market while giving retailers a chance to make more money. With a suggested MSRP range of $5.49-$6 per square foot, the line targets what Karol calls the “high middle” of the market. “Most of the good retailers are at about $6.99 so we’re right in that nice sweet spot of a product that has all the bells and whistles. It’s not an entry-level product, but it’s definitely mainstream.”

So what kind of margin can retailers make on this line? “Above average, profits,” Karol said. “We’re giving retailers something they can trade up, but not a big step up. Consumers will spend the extra money, if they like what they see.”

Beyond attractive price points and aesthetics, another attribute of the kupay species is its rigidity. On the Janka scale, it’s nearly as hard as hickory (1500) and it’s also very dense. According to Hemisphere Imports, this species stays very stable in both dry and moist environments—a trademark of many tropical species from that part of the world.

“I wouldn’t say it’s bulletproof, but for wood it’s pretty darn close,” said industry veteran Don Finkell, who co-founded the company along with Karol. Interestingly, the species made its debut years ago in one of the collections offered by Anderson Hardwood Floors—a company Finkell ran for many years. “We’ve called it different things—i.e., Spanish hickory, Patagonian pecan—and now that the Lacey Act has come on, we just call it what it is, kupay.”

To further strengthen the product, Hemisphere Imports employs eucalyptus—which is itself as hard as oak—as the core material. According to Finkell, this makes an already stable product even sturdier.

A rare find
Finkell and his team at Anderson came across kupay when it began researching species that would not only excite U.S. consumers but also offer an alternative to products that were linked to excessive harvesting in that part of the world. While it generated some interest in the early 2000s, he said it really took off when a hand-scraping texture was applied. “It was Anderson’s biggest seller at the time,” he recalled.

Fast forward to today, Hemisphere Imports believes kupay, perhaps no longer the best kept secret, may be poised for a resurgence. “No one else is selling this species, not that I’m aware, and that’s key to our distributors,” Karol said.

Abraham Linc, based in Bridgeport, W. Va., is a believer. Earlier this year the distributor rolled out the Canyon collection from Hemisphere Imports, and the reaction from retailers was swift. “It has 10 fantastic colors and great visuals that are not me-too looking products,” said Terry Warne, vice president. “The response among our customers who have seen it has been really good.”

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Distributors give thumbs up to Raskin’s Acrylx

July 31/Aug. 7: Volume 31, Issue 4
By Ken Ryan

Screen Shot 2017-08-07 at 11.37.23 AMAs the WPC/rigid core subsegment of LVT continues to rise in popularity, flooring distributors are looking to get in on the action by partnering with suppliers who can deliver best-in-class looks.

Raskin Industries’ Acrylx, a solid surface waterproof floor, fits that bill, they say.

“We are amazed by the rapid industry shift to the rigid category and were lucky enough to partner with Raskin early on the Acrylx offering,” said Jodie Doyle, vice president of product management, Gilford-Johnson Flooring, a top 20 flooring wholesaler. “It’s one thing for customers to hear about rigid but never see the product. We hit the ground running with Acrylx, and our customers and sales reps are excited to be on the leading edge of a booming category. There are very few suppliers actively selling the product in the market with inventory in the barn, but we have it here in the states and the early returns have been tremendous.”

Acrylx is the first Raskin line for distributor Abraham Linc, which carries Premier Home, Premier XL and Premier G-Core XL. Abraham Linc, which services the Mid-Atlantic region, discussed carrying the lines with Raskin at Surfaces in January; it started shipping Acrylx in June.

AJ Warne, director of resilient sales for Abraham Linc, said the feedback has been great. “Premier Home is their entry level collection but features a high-end look, and it has a style and design that is superior to many products at similar price points, especially for that construction style.”

Gilford-Johnson’s Doyle noted that in a market with so many competing rigid core products, cutting-edge looks could be a key separator. “That’s one of the main reasons we have partnered with Michael Raskin and his team—because everyone knows that when Michael’s name is behind the product, you are going to get tremendous visuals and the fashion-forward looks that today’s consumer demands.”

Available in three collections—Premier Home, Premier XL and Premier G-Core XL—Acrylx’s high-density core is made of pure materials and minerals that are tightly bonded with polymers to create a solid core that is more impact resistant and denser than most other flooring.

Premier Home is available in eight oak and distressed wood grain designs and is available in 6 x 37 formats with a 12-mil wear layer. Premier XL is showcased in four wood grain traditional visuals in a 9 x 60 plank with a 20-mil wear layer. Premier G-Core XL collection features a G-Core sound barrier backing for added acoustical absorption; it is also available in a 9 x 60 plank and 20-mil wear layer. It comes in four handscraped wood grain designs.

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Wood: Canadian suppliers seek to play the ‘Q’ (as in quality) card

July 3/10: Volume 32, Issue 2

By Reginald Tucker

 

Screen Shot 2017-07-10 at 3.18.14 PMIn some circles, Canada is renown for developing some of the greatest hockey players—and teams—in the history of the sport. Well, the same could be said for the nation’s formidable forestry sector, which has produced some of the most prolific producers of hardwood flooring.

But it’s not just high volumes that some of these well-respected companies are cranking out. Many industry observers would argue that they manufacture some of the industry’s highest quality hardwood flooring products.

Take Rochester, N.Y.-based Installers Warehouse as an example. This wholesale flooring distributor ranks the Wickham line high on its portfolio of hardwood flooring products. Craig Dupra, president, has toured the Wickham plant on multiple occasions and is always impressed with what he sees. “Wickham has a unique business model in that it produces an enormous amount of product, but the company doesn’t apply a color or a finish until the product has been ordered by the retailer or distributor. I don’t know how it manages the logistics of it, but the company is very good at making a particular product for a particular customer and still gets it to my customer in 10-15 business days from the time the order is placed. This gives retailers an enormous amount of flexibility in terms of how the particular floor can be made regarding width, species, grade, color and sheen.”

Perhaps it’s the signature, tight-grained maple species native to the various Canadian forests where lumber used for flooring is predominantly harvested, or maybe it’s just an ingrained mindset embraced by the major wood manufacturers operating here, but there’s definitely something to be said about the quality of the upper-end hardwood flooring products originating from Canada. Marketplace reputation probably plays a role as well, observers say.

Abraham Linc, which took on the Wickham line late last year, also attests to the company’s focus on high standards. “Our entire team is excited to partner with Wickham and offer this line to our customers,” said Darren Abraham, president. “The high quality of the products, fashion-forward colors and design, combined with our commitment to inventory, delivery and sales support gives our dealers an exciting new line.”

Screen Shot 2017-07-10 at 3.18.31 PMAsk virtually any top distributor or retailer to corroborate many Canadian hardwood flooring manufacturers’ claims that their products are among the highest quality available on the market today, and you are not likely to find a lot of hesitation. Jaeckle Distributors, based in Madison, Wis., is a case in point.

“Mercier gives us a first-quality Canadian manufactured wood line that fits all possibilities in today’s ever-changing customer lifestyle,” said Steve Flanagan, product and marketing manager. “Mercier fits the consumer’s need anywhere from a quality entry-level product in their Pro Series to the most fashionable 7-inch pine long board or other popular species like hickory, maple, red and white oak, and their entire exotics series.”

Jaeckle’s experience with the Mercier brand continues to generate positive results. For 2016, Brad Myers, sales manager with Jaeckle Wholesale Distributors in St. Louis, won the manufacturer’s Best Salesperson of the Year award In addition, for the third straight year, Jaeckle Wholesale Distributors earned Wholesaler of the Year honors from Mercier.

Other top distributors are singing the praises of Canadian hardwood. For instance, No. 1-ranked Haines counts the Mirage Hardwood Flooring brand among its best sellers. “Mirage’s Flair collection features a next-generation finish called Duramatt, an extremely durable, low-gloss urethane finish that has the appearance of an oil finish without the maintenance required for oil,” said Shawn McCloskey, marketing manager. “Duramatt also contains anti-microbial agents and is 20 times more wear resistant than a conventional oil finish.”

Other Mirage distributors, including No. 4-ranked All Tile, applaud the virtues of not only the manufacturer’s high-quality products but also the company’s steadfast approach to manufacturing overall and attention to detail. So much so that All Tile recently decided to expand the territories in which it will distribute the Mirage brand. Specifically, All Tile’s single-source trading area for Mirage Flooring will be widened beyond Nebraska, Kansas, Iowa, Missouri, eastern Wisconsin, northern Indiana, Illinois and Michigan to include North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota and all of Wisconsin.

“This is a great opportunity to provide a high level of quality service with outstanding customer service, inventory and technology to Mirage customers and help them selling the top-quality hardwood flooring brand on the market,” said Bob Weiss, president of All Tile, a Mirage wholesale partner since 2007. “We are very happy about extending our partnership with Mirage to a new territory.”

Focus on innovation
Screen Shot 2017-07-10 at 3.18.20 PMMuch like their counterparts south of the border in America, most Canadian hardwood flooring manufacturers face stiff competition from other quality-minded suppliers operating in their market. To gain a competitive advantage, many employ proprietary techniques in their respective manufacturing processes. One common denominator, though, is the obligatory attention to detail.

That same emphasis on strict quality control measures is observed at Lauzon. As Priscilla Bergeron, brand manager, explains: “We have numerous points of control to make sure every step of the way our quality is maintained. This starts right from the forests where we choose which tree we’re going to cut all the way through to delivery to the retailer. We also have state-of-the-art equipment to make sure the quality is maintained consistently. We test and re-test to make sure everything we produce has the highest standards in the market. And we communicate that message to the marketplace.”

This focus on attention paved the way for innovations such as Sunshield, which is designed to mitigate the harmful effects of UV light. Lauzon also developed a titanium finish, which it says is one of the strongest coatings on the market. And then there’s Pure Genius technology, which aims to provide air-purifying capabilities for homeowners.

“We have won many awards for Pure Genious alone,” Bergeron said. “In 2015 we won the Best of IBS Award in Las Vegas and we also won the Bronze Innovation award from IIDEX Canada in the flooring category. We also won an innovation award at Domotex in Germany in 2015, and we ranked high among environmentally friendly products at the Greenbuild show as well.”

Even Canadian newcomers to the hardwood arena are looking to leverage the country’s reputation for quality products. For example, Uniboard Canada, which previously only produced laminate flooring, launched its first engineered hardwood flooring line (Kalista) at the NWFA convention in 2016. Since that time, the company has expanded the color and species offerings to give dealers and distributors more options.

Tapis Beaver, a Uniboard distributor based in Montreal, recently previewed the Kalista line and has high hopes for its potential in the marketplace. Already a longtime distributor of Uniboard’s laminate lines, Tapis Beaver is quite familiar with the manufacturer’s overall approach to product quality, high standards and service.

Screen Shot 2017-07-10 at 3.18.24 PM“We work more on the laminate side than any other product,” said Stephane Leveille, president, Tapis Beaver. “We placed around 150 displays since last December, and we sold about $1 million or more worth of product. We don’t have any complaints about the product. The quality is very good.”

Citing their innovative approach to manufacturing—as well as the proximity to its operations and customer base—Leveille hinted that there may be an opportunity to take on the Kalista brand down the road. “We have looked into the product but we didn’t start to sell it yet. We are still in discussions with Uniboard management to see how we could work with our customers.”

Other major Canadian suppliers are also garnering attention for their innovative approach to hardwood manufacturing. Earlier this year Satin Flooring took home a Best of Surfaces Award for Wirebrushed, part of the Generations engineered wood collection. The innovative, environmentally friendly product is treated with Satin’s proprietary, non-allergenic, formaldehyde-free Eco-Last finish with UV protection and an anti-microbial finish, which prevents bacterial and fungus growth. It also features the company’s SolidFused technology, which is used in its engineered flooring production.

According to Dennis Mohn, director of U.S. sales for Satin Flooring, the company only uses lumber from well-managed North American forests—a big selling point for both existing and potential customers. “As a leading user of one of nature’s most precious and inspiring resources, we have a special responsibility not just to our environment but also to each other.”

Many Canadian distributor partners generally believe all these attributes—product quality, attention to detail, responsible use of natural resources—translate into products that provide higher margin opportunities with low claims rates. “Wickham has allowed us to grow our business by leaps and bounds,” Installers Warehouse Dupra said. “By stocking the Wickham line, we have easily doubled our bottom line.”

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Raskin Industries launches Acrylx, gains new distributor

IMG_3563Boca Raton, Fla.—Raskin Industries recently had its first Acrylx product launch, which brings a new category of solid surface waterproof flooring to the industry.

Along with the launch, Raskin Industries has brought on Abraham Linc as the company’s newest distributor. According to Raskin Industries, Abraham Linc’s company culture perfectly matches the manufacturer.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Domotex asia/ChinaFloor 2017: The Leader for Innovation in Asia-Pacific

domotex-asiaShanghai, China—Domotex asia/ChinaFloor has secured its place as the leading trade show in Asia-Pacific for innovation in flooring, especially for new and emerging categories like LVT and WPC.

Soon, the second delegation of leading North American distributors will meet with suppliers from China and Asia for a week-long event that will include guided factory tours and previews of product and new emerging technologies. As part of the tour, they will have the opportunity to meet with exhibitors of the 19th edition of Domotex asia/ChinaFloor, which will take place March 21-23, 2017, in Shanghai, China.

Last year’s distributor delegates noted how impressed they were with the advanced state of manufacturing in Chinese factories. This year will be no different as leading companies prepare to show off their operations.

“The world of flooring is waking up to the new possibilities that advancing technology offers and Asian suppliers [are] now part of that story,” said Santiago Montero, former publisher and editor-in-chief of Floor Covering Weekly, who has been tapped to lead this year’s delegation. “This trip will not only give distributors a first-hand look at the quality and scope of Asian manufacturing operations, it will break down the barriers to direct relationships between the two.”

The 2017 Delegation will include some of North America’s leading distribution companies, including Diamond W, Apollo, Wanke Cascade, A-M Supply, Abraham Linc, Horizon Forest Products and others.

Online registration is now open and admittance for pre-registered visitors is free.

For more information visit: www.domotexasiachinafloor.com

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Distributor delegation heads to Domotex asia/ChinaFloor

domo

Shanghai, China—For the second year in a row, Domotex asia/ChinaFloor will host a delegation of leading North American distributors to meet with suppliers from China and Asia. The week-long event will include guided factory tours and previews of product and new emerging technologies as well as a chance to visit exhibitors of the 19th edition of the show, which will take place March 21-23, 2017, in Shanghai, China. Building on the success of last year’s program, the goal is to facilitate further collaboration between the two groups.

While Asia is known to be a leader in product development and innovation, doing business in Asia can still be daunting for many North American companies. “This trip is designed to break down the barriers between Asia’s leading suppliers and North American distributors through greater understanding and shared business objectives,” said Santiago Montero, former publisher and editor-in-chief of Floor Covering Weekly, who has been tapped to lead next year’s delegation.

“This first-hand look at the quality and scope of Asian manufacturing operations will help foster new ties with North American distributors. Through a series of guided factory tours and face-to-face meetings, along with frank peer-to-peer discussions among group members themselves, we know we can help distributors deepen their ties with Asian manufacturers to help their businesses grow and thrive in today’s highly competitive market.”

Enos Farnsworth, director of distribution for Denver Hardwoods, noted, “The 2016 distributor delegation trip to Domotex asia/ChinaFloor was the most productive trip of the year. This was my first trip to China and I was overwhelmed by the innovation and quality of the manufacturing facilities. In fact, we scheduled follow-up meetings with three manufacturers; the new partnerships we developed are part of a private label program our Consolidated Distribution Network will be launching in Q1, 2017.”

Jeff Jaeckle, president, Jaeckle Distributors, added, “For me, the trip confirmed that the major factories in China are definitely high-quality operations. I was very pleased with the technology and investment I saw as well as product development. Being there also expanded my education on dealing with China on a direct basis. And just as important, it’s not often when you have the opportunity network and trade ideas with a great group of peers for five days.”

The 2017 delegation will include some of North America’s leading distribution companies, including J.J. Haines, Herregan, A-M Supply and Abraham Linc.

In addition to hosted factory tours, delegates will attend Domotex asia/ChinaFloor, one of the flooring industry’s largest international events. With over 50,000 attendees from all over the world, the event delivers an unparalleled opportunity to see products that are making their debut.

Two attendees will win a spot with the delegation through a dedicated online drawing. The entry is open to qualified owners/executives or buyers of North American-based distributors or retail organizations who fill and submit the participation form. The deadline for applications will be Jan. 15, 2017.

“I’ve attended Domotex asia/ChinaFloor for nearly 10 years now and each year I find something new and exciting in product development as well as a renewed effort by Asian suppliers to become more meaningful to their North American business partners,” Montero said. “It truly has been a transformative experience for the global flooring industry.”