Al’s column

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by FCNews staff

FCNEWS CARES: Floor Covering News was privileged to be the only flooring trade publication at the recent conference of the Carpet America Recovery Effort (CARE), the 9th the non-profit has held since being formed as a voluntary initiative between the carpet industry, government and non-government agencies in 2002 (see related story). It is amazing to see the progress being made by this group, considering that nine years ago there was barely a recycling industry with relation to post-consumer carpet (PCC). Today, it is an industry that stretches around the world as evidenced by the fact a couple of attendees came from China to learn about opportunities regarding their recycling efforts.

NUMBERS: Along with learning about the different ways entrepreneurs are using PCC, such as a decking product made from 100% discarded carpets that was shown at the conference, CARE releases its annual report showing what the industry did in 2010 and how it has progressed over the years. While some of these figures are included in the page one story they are worth noting here. For instance, the CARE network, which now consists of 98 recyclers across the country and 342 association members, has diverted more than 2 billion pounds of PCC from America’s landfills since 2002. Last year, in a down economy, 338 million pounds were diverted, an increase of 9% over 2009. And, since 2002, diversion is up 490%. When one considers this is a 100% voluntary initiative it is quite an accomplishment and something of which everyone who has ever been involved with CARE should be proud.

BUILDER BRANDS 2: Last issue we reported the results of Builder magazine’s 2011 Brand Use Study for the resilient, laminate and wood categories. On the soft surface side of things, it appears the magazine’s 10,000 builder readers prefer Mohawk as their top choice. According to the survey, Mohawk Carpet was ranked No. 1 in brand familiarity, brand used in past two years, brand used most and quality rating. Larry Brookshire, Mohawk’s senior vice president of builder/property management, said the mill views the award as a “significant honor. It shows Mohawk is the preferred supplier among builders—one of our key constituencies.”

FREE AGENT: Joel Lefkowitz, one-half of the tag team that drove Hoboken Floors to the top spot among floor covering distributors until it imploded after a private sale to an in- vestment firm, is looking for the next best thing. Most recently president of Allstate Flooring Distributors in New Jersey, Lefkowitz parted ways with the Mullican-owned company two weeks ago and is weighing his options. How about launching another distributorship in the New York metro area, given the hole created by the recent door shutting of a major distributor? “No way,” he told us. “Too big an inventory commitment and miniscule margins make distribution a tough business to be in right now. Plus, I wouldn’t be surprised if the future of distribution is servicing the B and C retailers as more manufacturers go direct to the A retailers.” Doesn’t sound like a friendly neighborhood to us.

GOODBYE: What does the death of a marathon runner have to do with the flooring industry? Everything when it comes to Grete Waitz, the Norwegian runner who won nine New York City Mara- thons and the silver medal at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics. To many industry old timers, though, she was seen gracing the pages of FCNews in the early and mid 1990s at events sponsored by Hoechst Celanese, which, for many years, produced Trevira branded polyester fiber for the car- pet industry. She passed away last month at the age of 57 after a six-year battle with cancer. We wish to express our sincere condolences to her family, friends and fans.

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