LAS VEGAS—An exclusive agreement between Global Trading Partners (GTP), a consortium of worldwide manufacturers, and upstart sales agent Peden Global has been signed with the goal of bringing cost-effective sourcing solutions to U.S. distributors. That should translate into high- margin opportunities for the retailer and, ultimately, value for the consumer.
Peden Global, formed earlier this year by former Kronotex COO and Quick•Step CEO Ken Peden, has signed on to represent the full line of GTP products in North America. Those products currently include laminate, solid and engineered hardwood, cork, bamboo and LVT—both standard and glueless.
“Anyone can buy product from the Pacific Rim,” Peden said. “But it’s hard for a distributor to get on a plane and develop relationships. That’s where we come in. We have feet on the street in the Pacific Rim, and we know the American market- place. That means we can bring competitively priced products to the distributor that we know sells and offers value to the consumer. We want to become their outsource partner.”
But GTP is about much more than value. Consistency and quality are also hallmarks of the products it markets by virtue of the fact its top executives live in China, meeting with various manufacturers on a daily basis to ensure they meet customer specifications.
GTP can offer an array of products and qualities because it is tied in with more than 50 manufacturers around the world. Not only tied in, but with an ownership stake in every factory from which it sells product. “It may be as small as 3% and as much as 50%,” Peden said. “That means for every purchase order produced for an American customer, we have control.”
Frank Riddick, former CEO of Armstrong World Industries, serves as a strategic consultant for the venture. He attests to the level of quality inherent in products marketed by GTP. “I’ve been in many of the factories in China, and these are top notch with high-quality equipment.”
Next, Dave Reichwein, CEO, (another Armstrong alum) helps engineer the products. He also has about 30 quality control engineers on staff that he trains to be in the plants and do testing.”
While GTP will market its products under the Majestic brand, it realizes most distributors have private labels, which it will support. “We are trying to bring cutting-edge products from all around the world to our distributor partners while taking cost out of the channel,” Peden said. “One way we do this is by consolidating all our products in one shipment. No one is doing that.”
Cutting-edge products include a patented floating LVT system that allows planks or tiles to adhere to the floor via tiny rings on the backside that create vacuum pockets under pressure; a pressed, beveled edge laminate whose paper extends beyond the bevel; and unique handscraped wood products.
Riddick believes partnering with GTP is a no brainer. “Distributors get very exciting products at reasonable value price points that people are going to want to buy,” he said. “This is a real program, not just a container coming in every few months. It gives distributors protection as the industry consolidates. They will make more money in a difficult environment.” He added that retailers gain access to great products at price points that will pull customers into the store with distributors standing behind it.”
If Surfaces was any indication, GTP will be a force to be reckoned with. “We had 17 people buy some type of product at Surfaces,” Peden said. “My expectations were nowhere near that high.”
Nor was Riddick’s, who believes “this fills a need in what I believe to be a changing distribution channel that is not being filled very effectively, given the multitude of inefficient activity.”