Keith Lacognata, Hallmark’s new luxury vinyl product manager, will be responsible for leading the Hallmark design group in the development of new product offerings.
Having literally grown up in the industry as the son of parents who owned a flooring business in Brooklyn, N.Y., Keith Lacognata equates flooring with family.
“When I worked at Hoboken Floors, we were like a family,” he said. “Everyone knew each other, spoke to each other on a regular basis and even socialized outside of work. During work hours, we all took care of business, but at the same time we all had fun doing it.”
Lacognata feels the same familial spirit at his new company, Hallmark Floors, where he is the group’s new LVT product manager. “What is special at Hallmark is our owner, Tony Pan, and vice president, Ron Oliver, are building a team based on these old-school tactics,” he said. “Business is extremely important, but family is also. Everyone I work with at Hallmark loves their job, so working hard and being successful come easy.”
One of Hallmark’s strong attributes is its relationship with customers. “If there is a problem, we fix it quickly and take care of the customer. Customers trust us, enjoy working with us and appreciate the partnership that has been established. It’s this culture that attracted me to Hallmark.”
At Hallmark Floors, Lacognata is tasked with leading the company’s design group in the development of new product offerings, which includes four innovative LVT lines. He will also manage Hallmark’s growing presence in the LVT commercial market. “It’s my responsibility to improve upon the marketing and merchandising materials and study the trends in not only the flooring market, but overall design decor and build our LVT program around that. We have some new product lines being introduced at Surfaces, as well as new technologies for the LVT sector that will launch Hallmark LVT into becoming a top luxury vinyl manufacturer.”
Hallmark Floors stocks its inventory in Ontario, Calif.—its headquarters—and Baltimore. “This serves as a phenomenal resource for distribution and backup supply when needed. We have no problem filling 60,000 to 70,000-square-foot projects,” Lacognata said.
One of Lacognata’s first wins was securing a distribution contract with Lockwood Flooring, a St. Louis-based distributor that fills a market void for Hallmark in Missouri, Iowa, South Dakota, Nebraska, Illinois, Kansas and Oklahoma. “Lockwood is an excellent distributor that prides itself on service through all five of its branch locations,” he said. “They are eager to take on the Hallmark Flooring product line, not only for hardwood but also for luxury vinyl.” Lacognata called Lockwood a “multi-versed” distributor that is equally adept at serving the residential and commercial markets.
Lacognata became familiar with the hardwood business while working for Hoboken Floors. “I have always been one to study the competition and learned the features and benefits of the hardwood lines in the market. It was this, as well as my father, who was my mentor, that turned me into a successful distributor salesman,” he said. “It wasn’t until I began working for FreeFit that I really fully understood the LVT product category. For three and a half years I opened distribution and pioneered the FreeFit line in the U.S. and Canada.”
Hallmark’s senior management appreciates having an experienced pro like Lacognata joining the family. “Keith’s unique and diverse skill sets will serve him well in this new role,” Oliver said.